All is not well in the Real Madrid unit. The journey had been bumpy in this season so far as the Los Blancos and their coach Zinedine Zidane enter one of the most important weeks in the history of the club. They have started the week with a victory against Sevilla and now it is time to settle the score in the Champions League, where they are at risk of slipping to the Europa League.
Zidane would have the services of his leader Sergio Ramos and the shield in the midfield – Casemiro.
Real Madrid have only managed to win in one (16.66%) of the six games this season without Casemiro in the starting eleven.
Casemiro is irreplaceable in the squad and Zidane was faced with a difficult decision last week in the Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk.
He became concerned about Borussia Mönchengladbach’s visit on Wednesday that he neglected what was in front of him, a Shakhtar side who had already surprised him at home.
After the 2-0 defeat in Ukraine, the club understood Zidane’s decision to leave the defensive midfielder out, however, they did not agree with his chosen eleven.
Casemiro returned to the fold for Madrid’s tricky trip to Sevilla on Saturday.
If Casemiro received a yellow card against Sevilla on Saturday, he would have missed the Madrid derby with Atletico Madrid on December 12 in Valdebebas.
Zidane took the risk, knowing how key a win and Casemiro’s presence would mean in Seville. The Brazilian had five ball recoveries over the 90 minutes in the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, protecting his defence, and allowing Madrid to come away with an important clean sheet.
Without Casemiro, the Madrid midfield and backline look shaky – in the 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad, at the start of the campaign, Casemiro played 21 minutes.
They lost 1-0 at home to Cadiz, a game that he played only 45 minutes of.
Due to the COVID-19, he did not feature in the 4-1 defeat to Valencia and the 1-1 draw away to Villarreal.
There is only one exception to the bad Madrid run without Casemiro: the 2-0 win in Milan over Inter. He came on with 32 minutes remaining on the clock to see the game out.
For this reason, for the big tests coming up this week, Monchengladbach tomorrow in the Champions League and Atletico Madrid in the league on Saturday, Casemiro would be the key to the success of Real Madrid.
He shared his views with the press.
Here are the excerpts:
On the clash against Borussia Monchengladbach
We have to play tomorrow’s game as a final. And finals are won, they’re not played. Zidane has made history at Real Madrid, people forget sometimes but we value what he’s done and what’s he doing.
It’s a final tomorrow – the most important game of the year. We’re used to playing finals. We have to respect our opponents too.
We’ll enter tomorrow’s game as if our lives are at stake.
The question is enough, we think match by match. We don’t think of any outcome other than victory. We go to death, we want victory only because we know that if we win we are through.
On Zinedine Zidane
What to talk about Zidane, about the history he has made in this club. Last year we won two titles. Many times we forget what he has done.
It’s not only me; the whole squad is with Zidane.
On Real Madrid lean-patch
It’s very simple, I’m not here to make excuses.
This season is a strange one.
We have a game every three days. We couldn’t prepare well for the start of the season and we’re not machines. Many clubs suffer from ups and downs.
I’ve been three games on the bench, the minster has them all. The pre-season wasn’t good, every 3 days there’s a game and we all need rest.
On the return of Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos return? Talking about him is an honour; he is our leader, our captain. He’s been at this club for a long time; we also have to value the players who did well in his absence, Nacho, Varane. But Ramos is one of the best of all time.
If Real Madrid slip to the Europa League
First I want to play in the Champions League, there are many possibilities. But if we can’t play in the Champions League, I want to play European competition. We think only of victory, this club lives on titles. If I play in Europa, I want to win it.