Julen Lopetegui: Casemiro can be a key figure

Julen Lopetegui: Casemiro can be a key figure

Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro - CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images

Former Porto boss Julen Lopetegui has hailed Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro and says the Brazilian can go on to be a key figure in the side.

The defensive midfielder spent last season on loan at the Portuguese club working under the direction of the ex-Los Blancos youth coach. He featured 40 times and netted 4 goals at the Estádio do Dragão.

Since his return in the summer, Casemiro has featured on a regular basis and has racked up 24 appearances to date this campaign.

Speaking to Madrid-based sports paper, Marca, Lopetegui stated: “He’s got a clear idea of what he brings to the table and his mission on the pitch. He was decisive for us at Porto.

“He’s always on hand to provide balance. For an attack-minded team like we were and Real Madrid are, that makes him a key figure. He’s always well positioned, constantly covering and offering an outlet. What’s more, his physical prowess means he wins every 50-50, and he makes intelligent use of the ball.”

Lopetegui, who was sacked earlier this season, also spoke about how flattering it was to be linked with the top job at the Santiago Bernabeu.

He commented: “I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s nice to be on the radar of a big club like Real Madrid. You never know what’s going to happen, but Real Madrid have had and will always have great coaches.”