REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: Casemiro and Valverde, Zidane's safety harness

Zinedine Zidane has seen time and again that Casemiro is necessary for his side to function and he makes Fede Valverde a better player when he is playing too.

Real Madrid: Casemiro and Valverde, Zidane's safety harness
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Casemiro rested against Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey and that explains, in part, their fragility defensively. The Brazilian has no replacement in the squad. After the exit of Marcos Llorente in the summer, Casemiro remains the last of his kind in the team. He is currently in the best form of his career and Real Madrid can't live without him.

The 27-year-old has played in every game for Real Madrid except four (one due to suspension). 2,580 minutes and 86% of the total. The stats reflect his importance: just one win in those games. That win came against Real Zaragoza in the Copa del Rey. The Segunda side had chance in the first half too but Real Madrid had too much going forward and won 4-0.

In attack, Casemiro is vital too. He has scored four goals with three assists. Two of those goals came in a 2-1 win over Sevilla and another came in a 3-2 win over Levante. His importance as a presence all over the field is obvious.

Fede Valverde is a better player with Casemiro on the field too. The Uruguayan has been in sensational form this year as he emerges as one of the best midfielders in Spain. Casemiro frees Valverde to press, his speciality, and also arrive in the box looking to cause problems for the opposition. At El Sadar on Sunday, Zidane recovers his safety harness.