Former Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka admits he fell out with Iker Casillas last season.
The new Middlesbrough manager is adamant the decision to drop Casillas had nothing to do with politics.
He told Jugones: "We thought a lot about his situation because we knew he was not just any player. We thought he should be performing better. I don’t know if Iker understood why he was benched. The same thing happened with Hierro, Sanchís and Raúl. I think that he must have understood the situation."
"We were friends. We don’t have that relationship now because I left the club, and in all honesty, during those three years, especially towards the end, our relationship wasn’t great."
Karanka also backed Chelsea boss Josae Mourinho's complaints about Casillas being too friendly with Barcelona's players "
Karanka still does not understand Casillas’ famous telephone call to Xavi.
"I don’t think Real Madrid players had ever before telephoned to apologise to Barça or vice versa. There have been matches full of harsh tackling, like those of the past three years and I can’t remember anybody doubting the national team’s unity."