Casillas defends potential win bonus

MURCIA - Spain captain Iker Casillas has hit back at criticism over the cash bonus each player would be paid if the European champions win the World Cup in South Africa.

Reports in the Spanish media have said Casillas and his team mates will each get 600,000 euros for delivering Spain's first World Cup triumph, the largest win bonus among major contenders.

A spokeswoman for the Spanish football federation (RFEF) declined to confirm the amount, which was negotiated with the federation by goalkeeper Casillas and the two other squad captains, midfielder Xavi and defender Carles Puyol.

"It's an issue that always comes up," Casillas said at a news conference ahead of Spain's final warm-up match against Poland in Murcia on Tuesday.

"You can comment and talk, especially at this time when everyone is suffering," he added, referring to the economic crisis and soaring unemployment gripping Spain.

"And I include myself in that because I have family and friends and cousins and they are also hurting because of the crisis. Everyone sees it one way, as they want, but you shouldn't mix one thing up with the other."

Marca sports daily reported last week that Spain's bonus was more than the 510,000 euros each of the Argentina players would get for claiming the trophy.

Other bonuses included 475,000 euros for England, 390,000 for France and 180,000 for Brazil, the paper said, without identifying the source of its information.

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta was also asked about the bonus at Tuesday's news conference and deferred to his captain.

"I think Iker answered very well," he said.

"We don't like non-soccer issues much but there you go. Everyone has their point of view and some think it's good and some think it's bad.

"It's not something we can defend much, everyone is free to give an opinion."

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