MALAGA, Spain - Goalkeeper Iker Casillas was benched for Real Madrid's game at Malaga on Saturday, the first time he has not started a meaningful league fixture for the defending Spanish league champions in 54 games.

In an apparent coaching decision by Jose Mourinho, second-choice keeper Adan Garrido entered the starting 11 in place of the Spain international.

Casillas had started every game for Madrid this season except for a Champions League game after Madrid's place in the knockout rounds was already assured and two Copa del Rey games against a lower-division opponent.

Madrid can ill afford to drop any more points this season, already trailing leader Barcelona by 16.

The 31-year-old Casillas has been a regular starter for Madrid for 10 seasons.

The last time he did not start a league match was on May 5 last season after Madrid had clinched the title.