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The 27-year-old centre-half believes the goalkeeper is good enough to line out for Los Blancos, but is nonetheless hoping his colleague remains in Catalunya

EXCLUSIVE
By Alberto Pinero in Madrid

Espanyol defender Raul Rodriguez believes team-mate Kiko Casilla has what it takes to play for Real Madrid.

The Catalans have met Los Blancos three times this month, with Carlo Ancelotti's side winning 1-0 on each occasion: at Cornella in La Liga; in Barcelona again in the first leg of the sides' Copa del Rey quarter-final; and at the Santiago Bernabeu in Tuesday's return.

Casilla impressed in all three fixtures, though, making a series of saves to deny Cristiano Ronaldo a goal in each game and leave the Portuguese frustrated on a number of occasions.

"He made two or three great saves in the first 15 or 20 minutes, which is when Madrid attacked most," Rodriguez told Goal after Tuesday's match. "And he won the battle with Cristiano to go three games without letting in a goal against him.

"I remember the one when Ronaldo smiled after a save from Casilla, because he was in the six-yard box and even then, Kiko saved it!"

However, Rodriguez hopes his friend and team-mate will resist the lure of Los Blancos and remain at Espanyol.

"Kiko has been performing at a very high level for a year now - and he showed that in Madrid as well," he said.

"I am very happy for him and with how he is performing because he helps us a lot on the pitch - and because he is a great person."

And he added: "I wouldn't want to see Casilla in goal for Real Madrid, because that would mean he wasn't with us at Espanyol. But of course he has the ability to play for Real Madrid. No doubt!

"He is a great goalkeeper, playing at a very high level. He's a young kid, humble, makes saves, can play with his feet ... with the level he is playing at, he could play for any team."

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