Casemiro Shines In Real Madrid's First Two Games

Valerio Pennicino

Brazilian midfielder Carlos Henrique Casemiro is probably Real Madrid's most highlighted player so far. He was expected to have a minor role after the club signed Asier Illarramendi, but he's made a statement in his first two preseason games by scoring two goals and being very consistent in Real Madrid's midfield.

Real Madrid have played two preseason games so far. In the first one against Bournemouth, Casemiro played 45 minutes alongside new signing Asier Illarramendi. With all the lights focused on his Spanish teammate, Casemiro contributed, played well and had the time to score a goal off a great assist by Ángel Di María.

The team then played its second friendly against Lyon this past Wednesday. This time, Casemiro had to play more than 60 minutes. Illarra left the pitch slightly injured -muscle strain- and, again, Casemiro delivered. He was great when the ball was in the air and that work paid off with a goal off a corner-kick. He helped his team defensively as well when Cheryshev and Carvajal tried to go forward and left their wings free for the taking.

Casemiro is not very fast. In fact, his main critics thought he wasn't ready to play in the first team because of his pace and physical attributes. He struggled quite a bit in his first matches with Castilla but ended up earning his place in Toril's starting XI. It's been quite obvious that a player doesn't need to be especially fast if he has good positioning and reading of the game. And that's what Casemiro has been doing in these two matches.

It is necessary to remember that Casemiro has been called up to duty with Brazil's National Team five times. Sure, that was probably too early -his last game for Brazil was on 06/09/2012-, but this is a great prospect for Real Madrid. The fans shouldn't take his price -4.5M€- too seriously. This Wednesday, Spanish TV commentator and former AS Roma scout Marcos López said that the Italian club tried to sign Casemiro on 2011 but Sao Paulo wanted to get 20M€. That was his value back then.

He started to lose his starting spot due to problems with the coaching staff. It seems that Casemiro was not taking orders too seriously. But now, he's regained fitness and confidence and appears to be a mature player. If he accepts his secondary role in these first couple of seasons with Real Madrid, he might end up having a good career in the club.

Casemiro will probably be playing in the center midfield. Even though he's performed well as a defensive midfielder, he likes to go forward a little bit too much for that position. That would not be a problem if he played in Khedira's position. He has a good mid-range shot that could also harm Real Madrid's opposition, and his aerial game is something that Real Madrid should appreciate defensively but also offensively.

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