For the last five years or so, Casemiro has been the part and parcel of Brazil and Real Madrid’s midfield. For the Los Blancos, his presence is a must and without him, Real Madrid feel the absence of the wall, who shields the defence when the rest advance forward. In La Liga this season, he has the most recoveries (187), most recoveries in the opposition half (68, most interceptions (44), most interceptions in the opposition half (17), most tackles (74), most tackles won (49) and conceded 35 fouls.

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The numbers suggest his qualities, while at times, only numbers don’t justify how effective Casemiro could be at the center of the park. When the spirits are down, he takes the lead and pushes himself higher up to score goals as well.

Casemiro gave an interview to Spanish Magazine Libero months ago and Onda Cero few days ago.

Here are the excerpts:

Casemiro and Real Madrid:

I’m different from when I arrived here at the age of 21, but my desire to succeed at Real Madrid has not changed. Working is my strength, I have always thought that success comes with work. We learn every day until we retire, every day we learn something new.

I felt bad while on holiday. That’s why I came back as soon as possible. I can’t be at Disneyland whilst my team is losing 7-3.

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I know I’m important for this club and for Zidane… but that’s not important. The most important thing in life is the details; I don’t forget where I came from, the sacrifices of my mother, my family, these are the most important things in life.

Style of play:

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My goal is to steal the ball and I feel how the fans appreciate it. You enjoy football just as much in every position; I enjoy stealing the ball and helping my teammates.

On the jersey number 14:

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I chose the number 14 shirt because of Guti and Xabi Alonso, the two players who made history with Real Madrid.

On the Champions League:

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I understand why Zidane gives more importance to LaLiga, it’s about consistency, it’s every weekend, but when the Champions League anthem plays at the Bernabéu… Real Madrid is different, I prefer to win the Champions League.

On Neymar: 

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I speak to him almost every day and the truth is that I would prefer that he be with us. I have said it several times, at the sporting level, Neymar is one of the best in the world and I would like him to come back. Neymar has a great desire to come back, he has always been sorry…

On Fede Valverde:

I said he’s going to be one of the best No.8s in the world in two years. I think I was wrong because he’s quickly moving up the ladder. He’s having an incredible season, he’s one of the most important players for us and he’s growing in every game. He’s doing a phenomenal job. But he’s 21, he has to go easy and we can’t put so much pressure on the kid. I’ve been 21 and I know what’s going on in his head, but what I like most about him is that he’s a quiet person who likes to listen.

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He’s shown with all these good games that he’s a very important player and he’s still just as calm. He has the quality to play everywhere in the middle, but his best position is No.8 so that he can be box-to-box. He’s more of a No.8 than a No.5 or a No.6. That’s his great virtue on and off the pitch. It’s an honour to play with him. Besides, I sit next to him in the dressing room. We talk a lot about football.

On Gareth Bale:

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I’m a defender of Bale, he’s a great player. They only talk about things he does wrong but doesn’t talk about what he does well, like the goals that have given us titles. What he does off the pitch doesn’t matter.

On Zinedine Zidane:

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It makes me laugh when people talk about Zidane being lucky. He’s making history with Real Madrid and for us, it’s an honour having him as a coach, he’s the best.

In Real Madrid all are important:

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I don’t think the team missed me in the Copa del Rey elimination. Zidane has made us believe that everyone’s important here, we’re all prepared. I think we’re all important, what I want is to continue playing and enjoying football. I feel important because I’m one of the most used players this season.

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