As preparations continue for the commencement of Euro 2016 in France, Spanish manager Vicente del Bosque is faced with a tricky task of choosing his starting goalkeeper.
Two of the most likely candidates to occupy the spot in between the posts are Iker Casillas of FC Porto and David de Gea of Manchester United.
Casillas has held the position for well over a decade, featuring in four World Cups and three Euros since making his debut in 2000.
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The Real Madrid legend captained the team to their first ever World Cup triumph in 2010 including consecutive Euro wins in 2008 and 2012. To say that the 35-year-old veteran is highly experienced on the international stage would, therefore, be a massive understatement.
However, in recent years, the former Galactico has lost some of his magical touch that once earned him the title of the best goalkeeper in the world. Since leading the Los Blancos to the La Decima in 2014 is particular, Casillas has experienced a downturn in fortunes.
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His under par performances during the 2014 World Cup against Netherlands and Chile saw Spain knocked out in the group stages of the competition itself. The following season saw the Spaniard fall out of favour with the management at the Bernabeu, eventually losing his place in the first team to Diego Lopez.
Having left the Los Blancos under rather unceremonious circumstances, Casillas joined Portuguese giants Porto. Despite providing a stable presence behind the defence, the former Spain captain is now a shadow of his former self, which might indicate the need for a new keeper to take the reigns for the national team.
No one would be better suited for taking on that responsibility than the outstanding David de Gea. Even Casillas has stated that the United keeper has what it takes to replace him in the Spanish national side.
The 25-year-old has been almost flawless for the Red Devils during the past few seasons and thoroughly earned a spot in Spain's 23-man squad for Euro 2016,
The Spaniard is considered one of the best keepers in the world along with Germany's Manuel Neuer and Belgium's Thibaut Courtois.
De Gea has experienced a meteoric rise at Old Trafford, having disappointed during his first couple of years at the Theatre of Dreams after arriving in 2011. But a big turning point appeared to be a Champions League knockout tie against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 2013. De Gea put together a masterclass performance in goal, restricting the score to just 1-1.
Since then, the Spanish keeper has bagged the Manchester United Player of the Year award for three consecutive seasons, after stunning, and often miraculous, displays in goal for the club.
The Manchester United No. 1 was shortlisted for both the PFA Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year during 2014/2015, eventually losing out to Eden Hazard and Harry Kane respectively.
Having won the award for Save of the Season in the Premier League for the third season in a row in 2015/2016, De Gea was also the only United player to be named in the PFA Team of the Year, not for the first time.
After the departure of Ferguson from Old Trafford, during a time when very few players were guaranteed a spot in the first team, De Gea firmly cemented his place in the side as the first choice keeper, despite the presence of more experienced campaigners such as Victor Valdes and Sergio Romero.
Despite the keeper's impressive showing at club level, he has not quite been able to break into the Spanish national side, with the likes of Casillas and Pepe Reina often considered ahead of the young keeper in the pecking order.
Casillas was involved in the majority of the games for La Furia Roja during their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, with De Gea making only a handful of appearances.
However, considering the Porto keeper's recent decline in form, especially at the international level, and De Gea's impressive credentials for his club, Del Bosque should opt for the United keeper to officially succeed the Spanish legend as the nation's first-choice keeper during the Euros.
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