IKER CASILLAS HAS admitted that the loss of Carles Puyol for Euro 2012 is a heavy setback for Spain.
The 34-year-old defender confirmed yesterday that he will not be able to take part in the tournament after sustaining a knee injury which will keep him out of action for six weeks.
“I spoke with him on Tuesday, he is upset and sad, but understood that he had to take a break,” the Real Madrid goalkeeper told reporters. ”I agree with coach Vicente del Bosque that this is a serious loss, not only on the field, but also when it comes to the group.
“He is one of the captains, together with Xavi and myself.”
Despite Puyol’s absence, Casillas remains confident Spain can retain their Euro crown in Poland and Ukraine.
“We have the ability to win it, I say this emphatically. Spain can win this championship again,” the 30-year-old said. ”This time we are not in the same position as four years ago. At that time people expected that Spain would go as far as possible, and the team started to believe in its playing style, in its way of facing its rivals, and in the end we won the title.
“Now we will present ourselves as the world champions and all teams, especially during the group stage, will do everything to try to beat us.”
Spain will play Ireland in Gdansk on Thursday, 14 June.
Casillas also commented on the situation of Barcelona striker David Villa, who remains a serious doubt for the competition after sustaining a fractured tibia at the Club World Cup in December.
“It would have been ideal if he could have played some minutes before the end of the season,” he said.
Spain kick off their Euro campaign against Italy on 10 June, in a pool that also includes Croatia.