VIEW FROM SPAIN: Casemiro has earned the right to decide when his trophy-laden Real Madrid career ends… there is no anger towards the Brazilian as he heads for Man United and his huge £70m transfer is seen as a final act of service
- Man United have reached an agreement to sign Casemiro from Real Madrid
- Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday night that a £70m deal is nearing completion
- But there is no bitter sentiment directed towards the midfielder out in Spain
- Madrid fans believe Casemiro has earned the right to embark on a new challenge
After eight straight trophy-laden years as Real Madrid’s midfield lynchpin, Casemiro has earned the right to try a new challenge aged 30 and bringing in £70million to the club in the process is being seen as a last act of service in an incredible career in Spain.
The lack of any anger towards him, as he prepares to jump ship just two weeks before the window closes, is a measure of the esteem in which Madrid supporters hold him.
The club are not overly upset either – they do not regret letting Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos go and they think getting a big fee for Casemiro makes the same sort of sense.
Casemiro is set to sign for Man United after they reached an agreement with Real Madrid
There is no anger directed towards the midfielder, who has won 18 titles at Madrid, in Spain
Time will tell if they are right to believe that. The last holding midfield colossus the club had was Claude Makelele and they took years to properly replace him. Casemiro could play at the top for another five years while Madrid struggle to fill the vacancy. But €80m (£68m) spent in the summer on Aurelien Tchouameni has convinced them they are well prepared.
Newcastle supporters need not be too concerned about losing Bruno Guimarães because as things stand the club has no intention of spending the money they get for Casemiro on anyone else. Tchouameni and the very highly-rated Eduardo Camavinga are the future in the middle of the pitch for the Spanish champions.
Supporters of Barcelona in particular are envious of Madrid’s apparent lack of sentimentality with these players who have won everything at the club but are allowed to leave without a tear shed.
They never got a euro for Lionel Messi when he moved to Paris Saint-Germain and have Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba on long contracts they intend to see out. It’s one of the reasons why one club has sailed fairly calmly through the pandemic and the other hit an economic iceberg.
Madrid supporters believe Casemiro has earned the right to embark on a new challenge
Casemiro’s decision to leave has also not surprised that many people. He has played his entire European career at Real Madrid save for one season at Porto, where he had Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui.
This is not the first time that there has been a sense that he wanted another adventure. Had Zinedine Zidane taken the PSG job then he may well have ended up there.
There is no anger on his part that the club bought Tchouameni in the summer. It goes with the territory that there are two international players for every position and in recent seasons he has actually been the exception in the squad with no real back-up.
The Brazilian star will arrive at Old Trafford after a trophy laden career at Madrid – graphic from SofaScore
But the arrival of Tchouameni has served as a reminder that time waits for no player. He also only has to look around the dressing room to know that once into his thirties the club become increasingly less keen to offer long deals.
Luka Modric has accepted year-on-year renewals but he was also tempted by a longer contract when Inter became interested a few seasons ago.
Clubs from other supporters have joked that from this weekend, players can play with rolled down socks and no shin pads with Casemiro gone. In truth he has never been a hatchet man. He was the master of the half-foul, enough to break play up, but often not enough for a booking and never enough for a straight red (he never received one in his Madrid career).
The arrival of Aurelien Tchouameni has threatened Casemiro’s place in the Los Blancos side
The Brazil international has therefore decided the time is right to move on this summer
This is a new challenge for Casemiro – what more can he do at Real Madrid after winning the Champions League five times with them? Last season he was not at his best but he still managed to be one of Madrid’s best players as they beat Liverpool in the final.
United are signing a player widely regarded as the best holding midfielder – along with Sergio Busquets – in Spain, but they will be getting so much more.
Casemiro scores goals. The imperious midfield triangle of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and the Brazilian is often flipped in games so that it’s Casemiro who is furthest forward. He only scored once last season but managed 10 in the league across the previous two campaigns.
And above all they will be getting a modest pro whose humility belies what he has become at Madrid, one-third of the greatest midfield the club has ever had. He is a player so well respected at the club that when Real Madrid got wind of United’s approach earlier this week their reaction to him was: you decide.