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Casemiro: Real Madrid's Unsung Hero

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Since Casemiro became a regular in Zidane's starting 11, Real Madrid are unbeaten in La Liga and winners in nine of their last 10

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The Casemiro effect is real.

Casemiro has become an invaluable stalwart in Zinedine Zidane's starting lineup ever since the Frenchman gave the Brazilian a run-out against Levante on March 2. Real Madrid won nine of the their last 10 and are unbeaten in league play with Casemiro on the field when the initial whistle blows.

It took a awhile for the Brazilian to break into the lineup and convince either of his two bosses his worth this season; but once Zizou believed, Casemiro became one of Los Blancos' most vital players.

Against Barcelona in the second El Clásico this season, Zidane started Casemiro and directed him to man-mark Lionel Messi. The 24-year-old excelled and silenced arguably the best player in the world. Messi created minimal chances and Real Madrid reigned victorious.

If Casemiro can suppress Messi's nifty attacking skills, what can't he do?

Evidently Zizou wonders the same as Casemiro hasn't been subbed off the pitch since. His role, the anchor, is essential to Real Madrid's success as it allows Luka Modric and Toni Kroos the freedom offensively to display their world class attacking prowess.

This was the story yet again as Real Madrid defeated Villarreal 3-0 midweek. He yet again provided his team with stability and showed off soldier like defensive work. He completed a number of tackles and tallied multiple interceptions to break up play while he roamed throughout the middle of the park. While his aggression and lack of discipline is a cause for concern at times, his defensive grit is invaluable.

Now that Barcelona fell back down to earth and only hold a one point advantage in the league table, Real Madrid must win-out and Casemiro is indispensable (in games he's eligible for) when Zidane picks his starting side.