Zinedine Zidane can claim to have the ability to stop a tornado with just one blow; he has earned this level of respect through his previous work with the club. However, the line-up selected against Real Sociedad was Plan C, with players who aren’t up to standard. It hurts to point this out.
A few minutes later, it was seen that the center of the Madrid midfield was a deserted area of real estate due to the absence of Casemiro, the player whom Zidane would love to clone. Real Madrid‘s team was a collection of disorderly and misplaced players. Missing were, among others, Thibaut Courtois, Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy, Raphael Varane, Luka Modric, Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale, although the latter is always missing.
In a Los Blancos team made of steel and resolve, the Brazilian is the vital piece, the player who appears in one corner and then is in the other within the blink of an eye. He’s the player who covers gaps, the one who knows how to take advantage of mistakes and the player who can get forward into a hole in an opposition’s half when he decides to venture up the pitch. Without him, everyone else seems a little worse. Barcelona depend on Lionel Messi, the club’s icon, whilst Los Merengues depend on Casemiro. Two dependencies that help explain the different functioning of both teams.
Casemiro‘s influence is so great that without him, Fede Valverde appears half the player he usually does. Casemiro and Valverde would have stopped the attacks of Real Sociedad again and again. The absence of Casemiro, a nightmare for the full-backs and central defenders, saw the door open for the visitors again and again.