Casillas: Blip will make Zidane and Madrid stronger

Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid will only improve after suffering in recent weeks, Iker Casillas has warned the European champion's rivals.

Zinedine Zidane will be stronger after his team's lacklustre run, says Casillas.   -  Getty Images

Iker Casillas has backed Zinedine Zidane to learn from the experience of Real Madrid's difficult start to its defence of La Liga and the Champions League this season. Madrid won both competitions last term and had been expected to dominate again after thrashing Barcelona over two legs in the Supercopa de Espana, but that has not proved to be the case.

Zidane's men are third in the league, eight points off the pace set by Barca, while they trail Tottenham in their European group and have yet to book a place in the round of 16 after defeat at Wembley.

But Casillas - a former Madrid team-mate of the current coach - believes the Spanish giant will improve as the season goes on, insisting it should not be written off in either competition.

"[Disappointing results] are going to make him stronger," the Porto goalkeeper told Omnisport, after winning the Golden Foot Hublot Award in Monaco.

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"Everyone is waiting for a mistake from Real, but this is a team which has won two Champions Leagues in a row and no one could do that before. So apparently they are not in the best shape right now in La Liga and they have lost a game against Tottenham, but we have to wait.

"There are still a lot of games to come in La Liga. And it's the same for the Champions League; everything is going to be decided in February."

Casillas won the 2017 Golden Foot, following in the footsteps of fellow keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who claimed the prize last year. And, after numerous battles down the years, the 36-year-old continues to be driven by competition with another of the greatest players of his generation.

"If Buffon is retiring in his 40s, I will try to retire a year after him - so I could have one year more than him in my career," Casillas jokingly said. "I guess he has thought about his decision [to retire], but I hope he reconsiders that because football needs players like him."

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