I don't blame Casillas for Mourinho's exit, insists Arbeloa

The defender claims he was not referring to the Spain captain when he accused the Real Madrid squad of contributing to the Portuguese coach's departure from the Bernabeu
Alvaro Arbeloa insists he was not blaming Iker Casillas when he claimed his Real Madrid team-mates were responsible for Jose Mourinho's exit.

The Spain full-back accused the squad of failing to show maturity during difficult spells last season, prompting the disharmony in the dressing room which contributed to the Portuguese coach's departure.

Mourinho's rift with Casillas became the focal point of the 50-year-old's temporamental final few weeks at Santiago Bernabeu, but Arbeloa insists he was not referring to the club captain when he spoke of his disappointment in his Blancos contemporaries.

“My relationship with him [Casillas] is the same as before. Our relationship is good,” he told reporters.

“We wear the same badge on the shirt, for Real Madrid and Spain. What’s more, I wasn’t talking about Iker, not even indirectly. That’s why there are no interpretations.”

Spain face Ireland in their final warm-up game before heading to Brazil for the Confederations Cup, where they take on Uruguay in their opening group game, and Arbeloa has warned of the threat posed by Oscar Tabarez's side.

“We played them recently, in Qatar, and found it hard to beat them. They’ve got good players; Cavani and Luis Suarez are both great strikers. They are a tough side from the off, but hopefully we’ll win the Confederations Cup," Arbeloa continued.

Arbeloa will battle Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta for a starting spot in the tournament, and the 30-year-old believes he is up against a more natural full-back in his bid to keep his place.

“Both of us are good defensively, we’re both aggressive and mark tight, but he is a purer full-back than me. I started in the centre and then went over to that position later, whereas he was playing there in the youth teams.”