Radio MARCA said that Zinedine Zidane was already thinking about Paris Saint-Germain when he withdrew Casemiro in the 59th minute against Levante. Real Madrid were 3-1 ahead and a lot of people were surprised that it was the Brazilian, and not James Rodriguez, who came off.
But no, the coach was thinking about the whole season and not just Paris. With Luka Modric and Fede Valverde injured, Casemiro started even after training just once since returning from Los Angeles on Thursday. Zidane knows he can’t take any risks with him.
Because today Casemiro is half of Real Madrid. It sounds like an exaggeration but just look at the last 30 minutes against Levante. The visitors were camped in Thibaut Courtois‘ box, they scored and very nearly drew level.
That defensive frailty is why Casemiro is essential. He defended more than the four defenders combined and he plays with more intensity as well. As if that wasn’t enough, he scores goals as well, averaging more than both Modric and Toni Kroos.
The Brazilian is irreplaceable in Madrid. If he’s injured, Los Blancos will start to shake.