Casemiro, last Sunday against Celta.SUSANA VERA / Reuters
When Carlo Ancelotti crossed the Valdebebas door again this summer, there were still a dozen players in the Real Madrid dressing room, whom he managed in his previous time at the club (2013-15).
The return of the Italian had an air of reunion for many, and in that atmosphere of old acquaintances, one of them, Casemiro, did not take long to approach the new coach to talk about the past.
He was the least used footballer in the only campaign they coincided, 2013-14, and the pivot addressed the matter without further delay.
He told him that he thought he could have played more.
"It was a very sincere meeting, between gentlemen," they reveal from the midfielder's surroundings. And Ancelotti, far from wringing out the bulge, willingly accepted the point. "He commented to me with respect and I replied that, honestly, it may fail," revealed the coach a couple of weeks ago.
Seven years is a long time, even longer at Madrid, and Casemiro's life has improved substantially, but he needed to bring out what was inside him. As he did in 2016 with Zinedine Zidane, when a few weeks after he came to office he entered his office to ask him why he did not play more and the Frenchman replied that the moment he entered he would not leave him. This time, the paulista also wanted to discuss this matter as soon as possible with Reggiolo's coach and things were clarified. This Wednesday he will once again be a fixture in the European premiere against Inter at San Siro (21.00, Movistar LC).
In that first time in the shadows, Casemiro was 22 years old, he had barely arrived in Spain, but he left what, in his opinion, were the 20 minutes that began to change his life and that, however, did not receive an immediate reward in that Madrid that the Italian commanded. It happened in the second leg of the Champions League in Dortmund, with Madrid about to see how they came back from 3-0 in the first leg (2-0 at the end in Germany). Then he appeared almost as a last resort, practically unprecedented until that moment of the season (he had refused to leave that winter), and his lungs oxygenated a group in a critical situation. A demonstration of character that attracted attention and that remained there, with no more opportunities in the short term and pushed to go on loan the following season to Porto despite the departure of the reference pivot, Xabi Alonso,and the doubts that Illarra left behind.
Now, 29 years old and with a highly revalued status compared to that period, everything is public congratulations for the Brazilian, non-negotiable in these first four appointments and praised in the coach's appearances at the slightest occasion. “It is a fundamental piece. In a team that has a lot of quality at the top, we need someone smart at the back to control the defensive aspect. And with the ball he has improved a lot compared to the first stage ”, added the white coach as soon as he admitted his mistake in the past. “What can I say to Benzema, Kroos or Casemiro? They do not need many things, "he said after the premiere in Vitoria. Some compliments reciprocated from the other side: "Ancelotti is working hard on tactics and field work, and Casemiro loves that", they warn in the environment of the medium, an obsessive type of detail."He knows that Case is a shadow captain," they add.
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Nobody is aware that the departure of Sergio Ramos has made the paulista climb another step in the hierarchical pyramid of the dressing room, in which he was already at the top.
The constant indications to his teammates, heard by everyone during the 31 games played in the silence of Valdebebas, evidenced the weight of a player who aims to coach.
Second top scorer last year with Asensio (seven goals), in the short term his mission in this new Madrid more focused on attack but permeable behind is to help sew the lines and advance in the work without the ball, a general request that the coach Italian does almost every day. For now, he continues to lead the league table of recoveries (36). The Milan duel is presented as a stress test for the entire defensive framework.
Looking in the rear-view mirror, the figure of the defensive midfielder was not a minor issue in the last months of the Italian in Madrid in 2015. After winning the Tenth in 2014, the club executed a high-risk maneuver in today's football: stay without a pivot of guarantees. He sold Alonso, kept an Illarra who offered no certainties, and handed that position over to the newly landed Kroos, who soon showed that he was not called for such a role. The hole was evident and the entity had to go to the winter market to bring the Brazilian Lucas Silva for 13 million, whose experiment only lasted a few games. Meanwhile, the young Brazilian did the
When he returned, Ancelotti was no longer there.
Seven years later, they meet again in very different circumstances and with the past cleared up after that talk.
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