The Real Madrid boss used Dani Ceballos in Casemiro's position at Celta Vigo, and the Spaniard responded with a fine display and a great goal.
Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari has a plan in mind as he prepares for three weeks without injured anchorman Casemiro: he's set to use Dani Ceballos in the role.
Ceballos came on for Casemiro at Celta Vigo - and impressed
When the Brazilian limped off at Celta Vigo with an ankle sprain a week ago, Solari raised eyebrows by turning to Ceballos and employing him at the base of the midfield; however, the former Real Betis man responded to the challenge, delivering a stand-out performance and scoring a fine goal as Madrid claimed a 4-2 LaLiga win.
Casemiro's natural replacement would be Marcos Llorente, but having been a fringe player under Solari's predecessor, Julen Lopetegui, the youth product's situation has not improved since Los Blancos' change of coach. Although he did start in Melilla in the Copa del Rey, he hasn't even made the squad in the three games since (against Real Valladolid and Celta in LaLiga, and Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League). Fede Valverde, who began the season behind Llorente, has now overtaken the Spaniard, leaving him at the bottom of the midfield pecking order.
Ceballos' days as fringe player under Zidane a thing of the past
Meanwhile, Ceballos' status at the Bernabéu has undergone something of a U-turn since Zinedine Zidane's resignation at the end of last season. He is now the 12th most-used player in the first-team squad, and has had almost as much game time (765 minutes) in the first three months of the current campaign as he did in the whole of 2017/18 (899).
Having already been given a more prominent role under Lopetegui, Ceballos has become even more of a regular in the wake of Solari's arrival in the dugout, with the Argentine naming the 22-year-old in his starting XI in two of his four matches in charge (against Melilla and Plzen), in addition to giving him 71 minutes off the bench in Vigo.