It may or may not be a coincidence that Real Madrid failed to win their first match without Manchester United-bound Casemiro in the side.
However, the statistics certainly underline how important he has been to the European champions and how important he could therefore be to the Old Trafford outfit.
The Times have published a chart showing that Real have won 8% more of their games when the Brazilian has been in the starting XI.
Los Blancos’ win percentage with Casemiro of 68.4% drops to just 60.3% when he is not in the side.
Source: The Times
Casemiro is not the glamour signing that would put a lot of fans on the edge of their seats, but that kind of influence on a team of Real’s quality speaks volumes about his ability to affect the course of a game.
Los Merengues have incredibly gifted backups in midfield, including Camavinga, Valverde and Ceballos.
Arguably, any of those would be an upgrade on United’s current personnel in central defensive midfield and yet Casemiro has elevated the team to another level when he has played, rather than any of them.
The holding midfield area has been a weak spot in the United side for two to three years at least, as Nemanja Matic has lost a yard of pace with each passing year.
Casemiro’s arrival will fix that problem and allow both of those stalwarts to play in a more natural, advanced position.
Indeed, for the Brazil national side, Fred plays ahead of, or beside Casemiro to great effect.
When adopting a more defensive system, the pair work more on a level, especially out of possession.
However, when Brazil are on the front foot, Casemiro’s holding qualities allow Fred to play the box to box role that suits his strengths.
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