REAL MADRID

Casemiro syndrome: Madrid concede double without No 14

Zinedine Zidane's side have suffered in the absence of their defensive midfielder, with whom they have won 90 percent of their matches.

Casemiro syndrome: Madrid concede double without No 14
Felipe Sevillano

Real Madrid - Leganés live

Real Madrid are suffering from Casemiro syndrome in the absence of their Brazilian defensive midfielder.

Double the number of goals conceded

Since Casemiro fractured a bone in his leg against Espanyol on September 18, Zinedine Zidane’s side have conceded double the number of goals. In five games with the Brazilian in the team Real let in four goals, at a rate of 0.8 per match. In the 11 games they have played without Casemiro, that rate has risen to 1.5 per game, with Kiko Casilla or Keylor Navas picking the ball out of their net on 16 occasions.

90 percent win rate with Casemiro

Zidane himself has said: “There is nobody who plays like Casemiro. It’s a headache when things like this happen.” That headache also translates to the number of victories Zidane’s Real have achieved without the Brazilian in the side. Since the Frenchman took over on January 4 last year, Real have won 90 percent of their matches with Casemiro on the pitch (played 20, won 18, drawn one and lost one). Without him, that figure drops to 61 percent in 21 games (won 13, drawn seven and lost one).

No natural replacement

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Casemiro is the only pure defensive midfielder Real have and the only player for who there is no natural replacement in the squad. Toni Kroos has filled in for the Brazilian but it is not his natural position and he is prone to the occasional error. Mateo Kovacic has acted as his bodyguard in some games and Luka Modric has also plugged the gap when he has been fit.

Zidane is under no illusions as to the Brazilian’s worth to the side. In his first eight games in charge the Real coach only gave Casemiro 21 minutes but after the defeat to Atlético, when Zidane said his side had to “get stuck in more,” the midfielder has been one of the pillars of the side.