Everybody always looks forward to the end of an era. The chance for fresh perspectives, new ideas and the opportunity to see how change will affect the fortunes of a club.
The Premier League enjoyed it with the end of the Ferguson dynasty at Manchester United, while David Moyes reign at Everton came to an end as he popped over to Manchester to succeed him.
And while Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Real Madrid was not as long and trophy-laden as that of Ferguson, it was so packed full of drama that those possessing an interest in Real were purely exhausted by the end of it.
After so many spats played out in the public arena with fans, journalists, players and fellow managers, there was almost a sense of relief that he took himself back to the Premier League with Chelsea.
In his place comes the quiet and reserved Carlo Ancelotti, a man not prone to raising his voice or insulting his peers. There was a feeling of hope that normality would be restored to the Santiago Bernabeu and Real could purely stay in the headlines for footballing reasons.
So it was a surprise to many that order has not been restored in one sense, as Iker Casillas was once again to be found on the Madrid bench in their opener against Real Betis.
The Casillas issue was the big debate in the second half of last season, with the dressing room split by Mourinho’s handling of Casillas, dropping him first for Antonio Adan, before purchasing Diego Lopez from Sevilla to take the goalkeeper’s jersey.
‘Saint Iker’ himself was amicable publicly about the situation, remaining part of the team, celebrating with his team-mates in victory and commiserating them in defeat.
But it was obvious that there was friction between him and Mourinho, as the Portuguese tactician looked to make himself the main man in the Bernabeu corridors, as opposed to the club legend.
Like Raul before him, there has often been a case that senior players have had influence and Casillas’ influence in the dressing room proved too much for the power-hungry ‘Special One’.
But now the Spanish press don’t see his omission as a case of a dressing room power struggle.
With Lopez starting between the sticks once again, so are questioning Casillas role as first choice ‘keeper for Los Blancos and therefore, the national team as well.
It seems unfathomable that at just 32, Casillas could be written off and face spending the remainder of his glittering career picking up splinters, or even be shipped off to the graveyard of the United States.
There is no doubting that Diego Lopez is a fine ‘keeper in his own right and did nothing wrong in his half-season.
But it was expected that Ancelotti would play the role of ‘peace-maker’, so the sight of Casillas watching from the dug-out is puzzling at best.
Casillas watched the first rival to his position since he emerged on the scene concede within 15 minutes to Betis’ Jorge Molina, but also witnessed him make a string of fine saves as well, as Real’s tendency to start slowly last season appears to have remained despite the change in managers.
Karim Benzema and a debut strike from Isco ensured that this talking point was not coupled in an early dropping of points, but the focus was on just why the club legend has not been restored to the number one slot.
Quite what plans Ancelotti has for Casillas is yet unclear, but with a loyal press following, one would suggest that an explanation will need to be required if ‘Saint Iker’ remains excluded from the first team.
One bad result and the jackals could soon swarm unless the golden gloves are returned to their rightful place. If not, then it’s anybody’s guess as what Casillas’ next move will be.
La Liga Results – Matchday 1
Valladolid 1-2 Athletic Bilbao
Valencia 1-0 Malaga
Real Sociedad 2-0 Getafe
Sevilla 1-3 Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid 2-1 Real Betis
Osasuna 1-2 Granada
Barcelona 7-0 Levante
Rayo Vallecano 3-0 Elche
Celta Vigo 2-2 Espanyol
Almeria 2-3 Villarreal
Does Casillas deserve to be No. 1 for Real? Discuss in the comments section or tweet us @SmParker8 or @FootyMatters