Casemiro discusses Mbappé, Bale, Hazard and Real Madrid
Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro has discussed his fond memories of Gareth Bale and said he will speak about Mbappé when "he is one of our players".
Currently on international duty with Brazil, Real Madrid stalwart Casemiro granted an interview to Spanish broadcaster Movistar at La Canarinha’s hotel in Lima ahead of their World Cup Qualifier against Peru on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old midfielder touched on several topics, including why he doesn’t use the real spelling of his name, Xabi Alonso and Guti as early role models, the current situation at Real Madrid, his view on the need for new signings, Eden Hazard’s struggles, his fond memories of Gareth Bale and the possibility of signing Kylian Mbappé.
Casemiro on his real name, shirt number and Real Madrid
His name is Casimiro: "Few people know that my name is actually ‘Casimiro’, because my mother's last name is with 'i': Casimiro. When I was playing in Brazil, there was a game in Sao Paulo where people started calling me Casemiro. That day I played a great game and decided that they continue calling me like that, with 'e'. And it is the same today."
Why he wears '14': "When I returned after being at Porto they told me to choose between 21 or 14. I didn't hesitate and took the 14 because of Xabi Alonso and Guti. They were two references with whom I learned and grew."
Real Madrid: "We are leaders ... The feelings are great! I hope that people continue to speak and we continue to be leaders. The preseason? It was short, but as you say in Spain, 'it is what it is'. We are still picking up form and we lack a bit. But the dynamics are good."
Madrid’s lack of goals: "How are we going to lack goals!? Benzema is probably the best nine in the world and you have to show a bit of respect for him. Since last year we have been a very solid team with players like Hazard, Rodrygo, Vinicius ... We can’t score five goals in every game, but there's no lack of goals either."
Need for new signings: "We have the same team that won the league last year. Obviously the more quality players that can come, the better, but with this team we have shown that titles can be won and last year we lifted two (the league and Super Cup). We know that the current squad is strong. Were signings needed? That's a question for the president."
Casemiro on Bale, Hazard and Mbappé
Hazard: "He knows he is struggling, but in training you can tell that he is a great player. When he starts to find a rhythm and plays three or four consecutive games, he will go back to being the same as always. Last year he was injured in his best moment. He only needs continuity."
Bale: "He got along very well with everyone. When he plays, if he's focused, he's one of the best in the world, top 5 without a doubt. It's a pleasure for me to have shared a dressing room with someone like him. I hope everything goes great for him in this stage at Tottenham. I appreciate the ‘screamers’ he scored in the finals. When I think of Gareth, it is to remember those great moments.”
Mbappé: "He is a great player and at this club many names are bandied about. If Madrid signed all of them, we would have more than 100 players in the squad. Mbappé is not our player and I will talk about him when he is, or if one day he is. I like him, but I also like Neymar, Coutinho ... they are footballers of extreme quality and everyone loves them.”
Casemiro on Madrid’s young players, Champions League and the future
Madrid’s youngsters (Rodrygo, Vinicius, Valverde, etc.): “They must have mirrors, references to follow, because in four or five years will be the leaders of Madrid. We, the veterans, try to set the example for the lads to follow. The club’s policy of signing young players is a huge success. "
Champions League: "Madrid are obliged to push themselves to the maximum. The group (Mönchengladbach, Inter Milan and Shakhtar) is difficult. We will have to come out strong, very strong."
His fame as a hard player: "The defensive midfielder has to be aggressive. Careful? Yes, but it is a difficult position. I always try to keep situations under control.”
Future: "I love watching football, to the point that my wife sometimes gets upset because I spend my days watching games. Being a coach? I hope not, because it's a very difficult position. No matter how things go, the coach always ends up being to blame.”
Brazil: "The road to lifting a World Cup is very long (Brazil has not lifted a World Cup for 20 years). We have a good pool of young players who work hard. We are creating a new identity and this is the way. We want the World Cup, but first we have to qualify and we are focused on that.”