Zinedine Zidane hesitated on whether including Casemiro in the line-up against UD Las Palmas or not. Finally, the Brazilian midfielder was included although he risked missing the derby against Atlético Madrid for suspension as he has four yellow cards. The stopper opened the scoreboard and was substituted when Los Blancos killed the game. Zidane wanted to save his key player.
These actions happened because Casemiro is perhaps the most important player in the squad. He doesn’t have a replacement in the team, although Los Blancos brought Marcos Llorente back to Madrid after the loan at Alavés. Casemiro is still the best stopper and his importance is growing game after game this season.
We can see how Los Blancos are lost when Zidane changes the formation and play with three defenders. Casemiro loses his place in the midfield and he has to play as a defender, where he’s not that valuable, leaving a big gap in the midfield. Against Tottenham Hotspur this happened and Delle Ali knew how to punish it.
Casemiro is not only important in the defensive part, but he’s also scoring some key goals. Against UD Las Palmas, he found the net, but he also scored a superb goal in the Champions League final against Juventus or against Napoli at home in the Last 16 round. Overall, he’s scored 9 goals in this 2017, a great number if we take in consideration that he’s a specialist in the defensive part.
Luckily, Zidane can count on Casemiro for the derby. When the French took over, Casemiro was always on the bench because Zizou wanted a very offensive team. However, he realized soon that the team needs an anchor, a stopper to let Modric or Kroos play. And he was completely right. Now he is one of the best players of the world in his role and key in Zidane’s formation.