Real Madrid ink goalkeeper Diego Lopez from Sevilla
Lopez to fill in for injured Iker Casillas
Real Madrid signed goalkeeper Diego Lopez from Sevilla on Saturday to help provide cover for the injured Iker Casillas.
Madrid said on its club website that Lopez's contract will keep him at the Spanish champions until the end of the 2016-17 season. It did not release financial details of the transfer.
After passing a medical exam and signing his contract, Lopez immediately trained with his new teammates. Coach Jose Mourinho, who turned 50 on Saturday, has included Lopez in his squad for Sunday's Spanish league game against crosstown rival Getafe.
"It has all happened so fast, I still need time to take it all in," Lopez said. "I'm back at my club, the club of my heart, where I grew up and learned my trade."
Madrid also said that Casillas was released from hospital Saturday morning after undergoing surgery on his left hand which he broke during a match on Wednesday. He is expected to be sidelined for two to three months.
"Losing a starting player like Iker could destabilize the team, but I don't think it will change many things," Madrid defender Raphael Varane said. "I don't know [Lopez] very well, but the important thing is that he can pitch in. That is what we all want to do."
The 31-year-old Lopez came up through Madrid's youth system, appearing sparingly for its first team before playing for Villarreal from 2007-2012. He had joined Sevilla last summer but saw limited playing time through the first half of this season.
"It was very hard for me to reach Madrid's first team," Lopez said. "And then I left because Iker was tough competition and I thought I would have better opportunities elsewhere."
With Casillas out, Lopez will now compete with Adan Garrido for the starting spot as the team enters a critical phase of its disappointing season with Madrid trailing league leader Barcelona by 15 points.
Madrid hosts Barcelona on Jan. 30 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal. The two rivals meet again in the away leg during the last week of February.
Madrid also plays Manchester United in the Champions League on Feb. 13 and March 5.