Albiol: Casillas is the best goalkeeper in the world

The Real Madrid defender claims the Blancos shot-stopper deserves a nomination for the prestigious award, and sympathised with Juan Mata's omission from the Spanish national team
Real Madrid centre-back Raul Albiol believes Iker Casillas is the best goalkeeper in the world and should be given the Ballon d'Or for his efforts for both club and country.

The former Valencia player spoke of his admiration for Spain's No.1 and believes a shot-stopper of his calibre deserves the accolade for being top of his game for so long.

Casillas conceded twice in El Clasico but the defender insists there was little he could do about Lionel Messi's strikes while adding the 31-year-old has saved Los Blancos numerous times in the past.

"Casillas is the best goalkeeper in the world, he's the best player you could ask for in your team," Albiol said.

"The other day, those two goals were really difficult for him. The first one was only a few metres away and the second was an incredible free-kick.

"He's the best in the world and he's saved us many times. I would put Casillas on the list of candidates for the Ballon d'Or. He's won the Liga and the European Championship this year and I think he was key for Real Madrid.

"It's unusual for a goalkeeper to win it but for me he's on the list."

Albiol was also supportive of fellow Spaniard Juan Mata, and believes the Chelsea star will be given a chance for Spain at some point in the future, despite difficult circumstances.

He added: "The coach makes the call and it's tricky to get on the list. He's a very good player and I'm sure he'll have the opportunity to come back to the Spain team."