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Casemiro is the gift Manchester United fans have been waiting for

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Casemiro
Manchester United midfielder Casemiro. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |
  • Manchester United signed Casemiro from La Liga giants Real Madrid last summer 
  • The Brazilian midfielder has been a force to reckon with at Old Trafford becoming the backbone of the team
  • SportsLeo looks at how effective and demanding Casemiro has been at United after the win against Barcelona

Without Casemiro, Manchester United would not have defeated Barca on Thursday night. This victory advances them to the last 16 of the Europa League and may even make them the favourite to win the competition.

Since joining in the summer for £60 million from Real Madrid, the Brazilian has been a surprise. People questioned the price and whether someone with five Champions League championship medals in their collection would be motivated to start over at an underachieving team.

However, Casemiro forced United to fight.

No one plays over 300 games for a club that dominates Europe the way Real did without being world-class, so his previous success is obvious, but he is now being introduced to people who haven’t been avid Real Madrid watchers.

Casemiro

Manchester United midfielder Casemiro is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League right now. | PHOTO: Daily Star |

Casemiro originally needed a few weeks to absorb Erik ten Hag’s principles and gain acceptance into the team. But once he did, United became a completely different prospect, and the public has rightfully praised him. It is significant that his final appearance for United, in a sense of an apprenticeship, was as a substitute in a 6-3 Manchester derby loss. In 19 games since he’s been a regular starter, the squad has lost just once.

After serving a Premier League ban for the razor-thin loss to Arsenal, recent matches against Leeds (twice), and Leicester, Thursday night was yet another emphatic reminder of Casemiro’s brilliance. There is every possibility that the result would have been different had he been available.

The Brazilian kept giving United’s midfield presence and balance, which had been missing for a decade before his arrival. He was the best player on the field even when Barcelona was leading in the first half, making sure the Catalans were constantly up against a wall. Casemiro ended the game having gained possession 14 times, according to fotmob stats.

Casemiro

Manchester United midfielder Casemiro played a big role in preventing Barcelona from scoring when the two teams clashed in the UEFA Europa League play-off. | PHOTO: 90 MIN |

He prevented Barcelona from potentially tying the game with 45 minutes left at one especially crucial point. David de Gea’s carelessly giving the ball away with a poor shot in first-half stoppage time could have been the end for United. If not for Casemiro’s sliding challenge on Sergi Roberto and subsequent block while lying on the ground to deny Franck Kessie on the rebound, Barcelona would have made it 2-0 on the night and 4-2 overall.

In crucial moments, the big players stand up, and this was the biggest player in the most crucial moment.

Even when he’s on point, Casemiro still doesn’t get enough recognition. Bruno Fernandes was sent clear by a curved through pass just a few minutes into the contest, which called for a more precise finish. The goal-scoring aspect of Casemiro has already been seen by the public, but the winning spirit and expertise he instils in the team as a whole is priceless.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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