Casillas calls for Real Madrid overhaul

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has warned that the club needs a massive overhaul in the summer if they are to challenge for next season's Champions League title.

Real were thrashed by Liverpool at the first knockout stage of this term's competition, and Casillas knows that the current squad has too many deficiencies.

The Spain international said: "I think that we need to bring together players who can compete at European level, where every team have strengthened well and have big names.

"It is also true that we have come up against great teams and perhaps we couldn't do much more than we did but Real Madrid should not go five years without progressing beyond the first knockout round.

"I believe that Madrid do keep track of their youth system, but in an indirect way. There are players that come from Madrid's youth set-up at almost every club in the Primera Division.

"It is true though that we have got just three such players in our first team. And yes, in the future I would like there to be more home-grown players brought through."

Meanwhile, Valencia striker David Villa insists he is not affected by all the speculation about his future.

The 27-year-old Spain international has been linked with a host of clubs including Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea but has once again said that his intention is to stay at the Mestalla.

He told AS: "The rumours do not affect me because, to tell you the truth, my future does not depend on it.

"The best thing for me to do is to forget about it and concentrate on football. If something comes up, it will be discussed but, until then, it's just a waste of time.

"If we fail to qualify for next season's Champions League, it will affect Valencia's future, but not my decision because I want to stay here.

"We all know what it was like to miss out on the competition this year, which is why we really want to finish in fourth place.

"But the thought of missing out on the Champions League hasn't even crossed my mind. I'm not thinking about anything else other than to be in the top four.

"Unless someone at the club says otherwise, and I repeat that that has not been the case, then I see myself here for the next six years."

Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi is in no doubt that the Yellow Submarine can beat Arsenal and qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Gunners secured a 1-1 draw at El Madrigal last Tuesday but Rossi is confident that Villarreal can cause a shock in north London in the second leg.

He said: "I know all about playing Arsenal from my time at Manchester United and I'm sure their fans will be booing me because of that.

"But that's no problem to me because when I get stick I go even harder to get a goal.

"In any case, the atmosphere won't be a major influence. Fans in London are nothing like those in Athens and I'm looking forward to celebrating a goal there.

"We always seem to score on our travels and, if we get the first goal, I am convinced we will go through.

"We have studied every detail of this game. It's our match of the year and we aim to show Arsenal are not really superior to Villarreal.

"Other clubs in the Premier League have won at the Emirates Stadium and so can we."