Diego Lopez
Diego Lopez became Real Madrid's number one with Jose Mourinho ahead of Iker Casillas Reuters

AC Milan goalkeeper Diego Lopez has claimed Jose Mourinho's departure to Chelsea forced him to leave Real Madrid in the summer of 2014 due to the scrutiny amid his rivalry with Iker Casillas.

The Spaniard moved to the Santiago Bernabeu in January 2013 to back-up the Real Madrid legend but eventually became in Mourinho's number one.

Real Madrid fans and Spanish media were split into two camps, one group supporting Casillas and the other backing Lopez and the manager.

And even when Mourinho left the club, Lopez's situation did not improve with Carlo Ancelotti, as the Italian manager kept Lopez as his preferred choice in La Liga, with Casillas playing in cup competitions, winning the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.

And after Real Madrid signed Keylor Navas, Lopez opted to leave the club to join Milan.

During an interview with Canal +, the 'keeper clarified the situation and praised Mourinho for how he dealt with the rivalry with Casillas.

He said: "I knew what was going to happen. In the conversation with Mourinho [prior to his move to the club] it was mentioned, but later I had to be judged based on my matches.

"Mourinho made it very clear that he would play whoever played better and that he had nothing against Iker, and that I was not his precious child. I want to make it clear, because that's how it was. Maybe Mourinho was the shield for the critics, and when he left the target passed to me. Ancelotti trusted in me but I had an immense magnifying glass on me. Almost nobody [realised] that. I felt sorry for the image of the club."

Nevertheless, Lopez revealed Mourinho had already tried to sign him the previous summer.

He said: "Mourinho had a conversation with me in which he was very clear, and he gave me the strength I needed to confront what was approaching towards me. He said he already wanted to buy me the season before, and that he had trust in me. He's a very unique person, just with his look and his words can he take you where he wants."

Lopez, who came through the Real Madrid academy alongside Casillas, admitted his relationship with his compatriot "changed" during that time but has no hard feelings about the Spanish legend.

"There was never a lack of respect between the two of us. I would be lying if I said otherwise, but it's true that our relationship changed and I don't think I did anything for it to do so. Maybe it happened because it was meant to be and the competition sparked it," he said.

"He definitely went through a hard time and I found myself strong. This debate created a dent within the fans. I don't think competition between two players has ever been talked about as much as this."