The Casemiro effect
Let’s start with Casemiro. He’s the only natural number 5 Madrid have at the moment. Saying that, he’s the best number 5 Zidane could hope for (Busquets is off limits). No one compares with him. Casemiro meets the criteria of a true madridista. He’s persistent, has a good positioning sense and is tough without resorting to hatchet man tactics (he gets stuck in like Ángel de los Santos used to, but is able to break up play without getting booked). Madrid’s Brazilian wall also includes Pepe, another player who pushes the pressing line forward from the back and adds an injection of aggression into the team, something that was sorely missed in both the Clásico and the Madrid derby. The South American pair provide Los Blancos with the security of yesteryear. It was a long time coming, fellas.
Next up, Keylor. The presence of the Costa Rican between the sticks last night caused Dzeko and Salah, both through on goal, to fire their shots wide of the mark. Later on the Madrid shot-stopper denied Florenzi and Manolas with two fine saves. All that with the game still poised at 0-0. A performance befitting the Champions League and, as just reward, he finished the night having surpassed Edwin van der Sar on the list of longest runs without conceding in the competition. Now only Jens Lehmann stands ahead of him. While he’s still new to the European stage, it would be foolish to substitute him given how incredible he’s doing.
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