The 2019-20 season was further proof of how irreplaceable Casemiro is to Real Madrid.
In fact, he’s arguably the first player on the teamsheet for Zinedine Zidane, who knows how indispensable he is to the team, and to the way the French coach sees the game. Even when Zidane was a player, he was furious at the decision of the club for selling countryman Claude Makelele, and famously told the media “Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?”, after Madrid sold the defensive midfielder for David Beckham back in 2003.
And Casemiro is just as pivotal as Makelele was. Having played 4081 minutes last season, the Brazilian was the only outfield player above the 4000 barrier. He only missed three La Liga games, two of which were due to suspension, and in the UEFA Champions League, he missed half an hour from a total of eight games during Madrid’s run to the round of 16.
It’s very clear that Casemiro has no replacement, and that is cause for concern for both the 28-year old, and the club. Other positions in the squad have a competent replacement, other than Casemiro’s. Of course, one option could be Antonio Blanco, who Zidane has been impressed with whilst testing the young academy player in a variety of positions.
Any options are likely to be short-term, because Madrid intend on going into the market next summer, with Eduardo Camavinga being their main target to strengthen the midfield and provide cover for Casemiro. Spanish newspaper AS believe the 17-year old won’t extend his contract at Stade Rennais, which is currently due to expire in 2022. And with one-year left on his contract, the teenager would be available at the right price.
And in fact, the transfer could be closer than everyone believes. Benjamin Idrac – who is a journalist for Ouest France and also very close to Camavinga’s family – told Eurosport Sport on Friday that Madrid are the most advanced for the player’s signature and have already made concrete talks and links with the Ligue 1 club, and Camavinga’s entourage. He’s a player Madrid believe will define an era at the club.