Manchester United’s price of 23/20 to qualify from their Champions League last-16 clash with Real Madrid suddenly looks that bit tastier following the news that Iker Casillas will miss both ties with a broken thumb.
With Jose Mourinho known to be no stranger to mind games, some punters may be quick to suggest that this is the latest to try to unsettle the Red Devils.
However, reports from Spain suggest that the goalkeeper will miss at least four weeks of action after being kicked by teammate Alvaro Arbeloa in the 1-1 draw in the Copa Del Rey second leg with Valencia.
The only good news for Jose Mourinho is that he did manage to give replacement stopper Antonio Adan some first-team opportunities over the Xmas/New Year period after being unhappy with Casillas’ form.
But in Adan’s three starts, Real Madrid conceded seven goals, while none have been shipped by Casillas in the three games since he was recalled to the side.
Adan was also massively at fault for Valencia’s equaliser in the Copa Del Rey encounter.
Meanwhile, Madrid could be in for even more drama with Casillas if alternate reports from Spain are to believed.
It is being stated that two senior Real Madrid players have indicated to Florentino Perez that they will be putting in transfer requests at the end of the season if Jose Mourinho remains as manager.
These players are believed to be Casillas and Sergio Ramos and this only heightens the likelihood that Mourinho will be moving on in the summer.
Despite a La Liga title, Mourinho has arguably failed to imitate his success from almost everywhere else at Real Madrid and only really a Champions League title can ensure this season does not go down as the biggest malfunction of them all.
Real Madrid still have enough attacking threat to see off Man Utd, even without Casillas, and it is 8/13 that they qualify from the last-16 clash, with 9/2 the price that they win the Champions League.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date