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Casemiro: “If we don’t qualify, I’d rather finish third and win the Europa League than finish fourth”

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Also spoke about how playing every three days isn’t normal. 

Sevilla FC v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Casemiro was the Real Madrid player selected to speak ahead of the Borussia Mönchengladbach match and the midfielder spoke from the very beginning of the press conference about how this game is a final. He said: “We know that tomorrow is the most important game of the year. We all know that tomorrow is a final. We have to face it as if it were a final. We’ve been taught at this club that you don’t play finals, you win them. We’re not thinking about anything other than winning. We know there is a good opponent and they’re top of the group, so we have to respect that. But, we’re going out to win.”

Despite that insistence of only thinking about winning, the Brazilian did admit that he’d prefer to finish third and qualify for the Europa League than finish fourth. He said: “If we can’t continue in the Champions League, I’d prefer to continue in a competition. We’d want to win the Europa League. But, we’re only thinking about winning tomorrow and going through.”

During the press conference, Casemiro also spoke a lot about the intense schedule of this season and explained that the busy calendar may have something to do with the disappointing comedown performances after big wins against big teams. On that, he explained: “I’m not here to give excuses, but we know that this year the pre-season wasn’t normal. There are some teams in LaLiga who only play at the weekends, whereas we play every three days. We’re not having time to rest and we’re having injuries. It’s not just at Real Madrid, but many other teams are having ups and downs. Because it’s impossible to play so many matches together. We know that this isn’t a normal season. We have many matches. The pre-season wasn’t normal and we’re not machines. Playing every three days isn’t normal, so there have been many injuries.”

Finally, Casemiro spoke about the importance of Sergio Ramos being back. On the captain, Casemiro said: “He’s a leader and he’s our captain. He’s been here for a long time. We also need to praise those who have done things well, like Nacho and Varane. But, Ramos is the best and we’re very happy that he is back with us.”