Iker Casillas likely to miss Manchester United tie due to broken hand

Denis Doyle

Real Madrid could be without captain Iker Casillas for the next 6-10 weeks after teammate Alvaro Arbeola accidentally kicked him on Wednesday night during a Copa del Rey tie at Valencia. The legendary goalkeeper could miss out on the upcoming UEFA Champions League tie with Manchester United.

* Update: Since the publication of this story, Real Madrid have signed Diego Lopez from Sevilla. The former Villarreal goalkeeper appears to be the Merengues new No.1 while Iker Casillas is out.

The good news for Real Madrid is that they earned passage to the semi-final of the Copa del Rey (where they will face Barcelona) after their Wednesday night 1-1 second-leg draw away to Valencia -- this was adequate for advancement due to a 3-1 aggregate advantage. The bad news for the Meringues, though, is that goalkeeper Iker Casillas had to be substituted off during the match because of what tests eventually showed to be a fracture in his left hand. The speculation is that he's likely to miss anywhere from 6-10 weeks.

The first-leg of Manchester United's two-legged UEFA Champions League tie with the Spanish giants is at the Bernabeu on February 13. It appears that the Madrid and Spain captain will be miss out on that encounter. He could, though, possibly be back for the return leg at Old Trafford on March 5.

Bizarrely enough, whether it was because of dressing room drama or for 'footballing reasons', the legendary Casillas had actually been dropped by manager Jose Mourinho a few weeks back. The Spain No.1, though, did recently reclaim being the No.1 for Madrid. Antonio Adan is the man who has recently featured in place of Casillas. He hasn't exactly impressed.

Madrid currently sit 15 points back of Barcelona in the La Liga title race so the ambition to retain their title is all but gone. In cup competitions, though, their quest for glory is certainly alive as the Champions League and Cope del Rey have become the focus of their season. If Madrid aren't comfortable with Adan, it's possible that they could look to bring in another goalkeeper before the January transfer window closes. If Casillas is indeed out for 10 weeks, then he would miss the enormously important two-legged European tie with United and the highly contentious two-legged Copa del Rey tie with Barcelona. Casillas hasn't been at his best in the past year but his injury is a big blow to Mourinho's side.

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