Casemiro: “Only the Real Madrid badge carries you to the impossible”
The Brazilian spoke to AS about making history after winning five Champions League titles in eight years for Los Blancos.
Carlos Henrique Casemiro, at the age of 30, is in a state of plenitude, both personally and professionally. Real Madrid’s number 14 was an integral part of the team that recently won the 14th Champions League, his fifth for the club - a record he shares with Carvajal, Benzema, Nacho, Modric, Isco, Bale, Cristiano and Marcelo - and is now just one European Cup away from Gento’s legendary record.
Casemiro making history with Real Madrid
The Brazilian spoke to AS to reflect on this personal and collective record, which, he says, will only be appreciated as it deserves to be with the passage of time.
“This team is like something out of a movie. Winning five Champions League titles in the last eight years can only be described in one way: it’s making history,” says the defensive wall of Ancelotti’s team, just as he was before with Zidane in the three consecutive titles won in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
And yet the road was not easy for ‘Case’ at the start of this almost unrepeatable era. In his first European Cup, La Décima (the 10th), his presence was negligible. In fact, in the Lisbon final against Atleti he did not play a single minute. That said, in the quarter-finals he played a key role in Dortmund against Lewandowski’s Borussia. The Germans laid siege to an apparently frightened and physically inferior Madrid. Illarra looked outclassed and Ancelotti took him off at half-time.
But the bloody siege continued and Carlo brought on a young Casemiro for the final 20 minutes. His presence was crucial to stopping the German advances and he cut out four balls in midfield that were likely definitive to seal a place in the semi-finals. That was when it began to become clear who the Brazilian panzer was going to be. That same summer he went out on loan to Lopetegui’s Porto, on the back of Ancelotti being honest with him about the limited pitch time he’d have. But Casemiro is full of praise for the coach from Reggiolo: “Ancelotti sets an example in everything. He deserves everything good that happens to him. He has an infinite enthusiasm for Madrid”.
What no one can take away from Casemiro, who has a contract with Madrid until 2025, is the pride of belonging to an iconic midfield trident that is already part of the Real Madrid legend. When he talks about the three of them, he gets emotional:
“Florentino calls us ‘Los Tres Tenores’ (the three tenors). Kroos, Modric and I have earned the right to be remembered for many years to come”. Indeed, the three of them have 15 Champions League titles between them (five apiece although one for Kroos came with Bayern) and they have a combined age of almost a century (98 to be exact).
Casemiro arrived at Madrid from Sao Paulo as a youth player, spending his first six months at Castilla, from January to June 2013. During that time, José Mourinho gave him his first-team debut in a match against Real Betis at the Bernabeu. He knows La Fábrica and that helped him become imbued with the Madrid spirit at grassroots level. That’s why, when he talks about his team’s incredible comebacks against PSG, Chelsea and Guardiola’s Man City, culminating in the great triumph over Liverpool in Saint-Denis, he expresses the key to this triumphant club: “You can never leave Madrid for dead. Only this badge carries you to the impossible.”
This is the reason, he concludes, that what happened in this season’s magical Champions League is indicative of the calue of this dressing room and the coaching staff: “This Champions League won in Paris will be remembered for life. It is the most wonderful European Cup story ever told”. Casemiro’s words, the words of a champion.