Spain begin their defence of the European Championship later today (13 June) in a match against Czech Republic. However, the game has been overshadowed by a national debate over who Vicente del Bosque will start in goal out of David de Gea and Iker Casillas, after the Manchester United star was implicated in a sexual abuse scandal.
A poll of fans in AS predicted Spain would go with the current Porto custodian as a result, but Marca suggests the Red Devils' number one will be the man to start.
Spanish publication El Diario.es reported on 10 June that a protected witness in the investigation into a notorious Spanish pornographer had implicated De Gea, Athletic Club's Iker Munian and another unnamed player in a sexual abuse scandal surrounding an incident that took place in 2012. The woman said the United keeper was responsible for arranging an encounter with the tother wo players through Ignacio Allende Fernández, commonly known as 'Torbe' in Spain, adding that she was forced to have sexual intercourse with Munian and the third man.
De Gea called a press conference hours later to deny any wrongdoing while claiming the story was a deliberate attempt to harm his reputation.
However, the furore has understandably sparked discussions as to whether he will be mentally focused enough to play against the Czech Republic on Monday.
Former Real Madrid star Casillas, 35, has served as La Roja's goalkeeper during their golden era, which has seen them win the 2010 World Cup as well as the last two Euros. However, there has been criticism of his play in recent years, especially after a number of mistakes by Casillas in Brazil saw the defending champions knocked out in the first round.
Pundits and fans alike have suggested that Casillas' best days are behind him and Del Bosque should instead put his faith in the 25-year-old De Gea. The manager alternated between the pair during qualification but has been coy in recent months when asked about who he will start in France.
The Torbe affair has rekindled this debate in recent days, and when asked in a press conference on Sunday Del Bosque failed to offer a definitive answer.
"If off-pitch things affect the player we will act; if not, we will do as we had planned to do," Del Bosque said when questioned whether the incident will affect his decision. "The goalkeeper decision is something we have thought a lot about. Same as any position. We will decide tomorrow [Monday]."
59.40% of the fans in a poll made by AS believe the current Porto keeper will get the nod in goal following the incident, while only 40.6% say the United man will be number one.
Marca, however, reports that Del Bosque made the call to go with De Gea some time ago and has no plans to change his decision.
De Gea confirmed to AS that he will accept whatever decision his manager makes.
"We don't know who will start but Del Bosque's decision will be the right one," the United star said.