Casemiro: Fascinating report on what Man Utd star is like behind the scenes

  • Kobe Tong
Man Utd signing Casemiro.

Casemiro is an incredible signing for Manchester United.

The five-time Champions League winner might not have been the first-choice pick at Old Trafford and his arrival could still be seen as symptomatic of the club’s ‘short-termism’, but hey, there’s no denying that Casemiro knows one or two things about playing football.

So much so, in fact, that his Real Madrid exit was marked by his name being added to the club’s legends section on its official website. If that’s not a glowing endorsement, then we don’t know what is.

Man Utd sign Casemiro

And all of this means that you’ve probably been bludgeoned over the head time and time again this week with information on how Casemiro is going to cure all of United‘s midfield ills.

You’re probably well-versed now on how the Brazil international will screen United’s back-line, getting stuck in with tackles and progressing the ball up the pitch, liberating Fred in the process.

However, the 30-year-old’s value to United extends far beyond what he can offer on the pitch because it just so happens that he also possesses one of the most driven and intelligent approaches to the sport that we’ve ever heard of.

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Lionel Messi on Argentina duty

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The story of Casemiro, Barcelona and pizza

Park your thoughts about his tough-tackling, aerial supremacy and metronomic passing for just one second because a fascinating report by the Telegraph has opened our minds to another side of Casemiro’s brilliance.

First, the wide-ranging article speaks about the first time that Casemiro took to the Old Trafford pitch when he represented Sao Paulo at 15 years old for a youth tournament called the Nike Cup.

Part of a talented generation of players at the club featuring Lucas Moura, Rodrigo Caio and Oscar, Casemiro’s side made it all the way to the final only to come up against Barcelona’s legendary youth ranks.

But the reaction of the young Casemiro to that crushing defeat spoke volumes about his mentality with Bruno Petri, his first Sao Paulo coach and current member of his entourage, explaining: “Before facing Barcelona, we had beaten Schalke 04 in the semi-finals and decided to order some pizzas for the team to celebrate

“But then, after losing in the final, Casemiro was really mad on our flight back home.

“Even as frustrated as I was as a manager, I thought he was overreacting a little bit, especially for a kid of his age. So I asked him: ‘Why do you look so upset, Casemiro?’ And he explained: ‘I don’t think we should have bought pizza before the final.’ I was speechless, but that showed how much he cared about the team, despite being so young.”

Young Casemiro playing for Brazil.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JUNE 9: Sergio Aguero #16 of Argentina moves the ball between Casemiro #15 and Hulk #20 of Brazil during the second half of an international friendly soccer match on June 9, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

It’s almost Cristiano Ronaldo-esque, isn’t it?

Casemiro’s preparation for referees

And Casemiro’s meticulous eye for detail has grown into his senior career with the Telegraph remarkably revealing that the midfielder ‘commissions a dossier from his staff on the referee’ before every game.

These reports include details such as the match official’s reputation, what they prefer to be called, where they’re from, whether they have another job and how they prefer to manage the game.

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg because it’s also explained that Casemiro “began studying English a few years ago,” in order to optimise his communication with the referees.

The player is said to view this as a sign of respect to the officials, but also a way through which he can potentially gain an edge for his team.

Bruno dos Anjos, a former teammate and close friend of the player, explained: “He plays in a role where you talk a lot to the referees and are more likely to receive a card. So it’s important that they understand what he says and that he’s able to argue with them if necessary as well. It may be helpful in certain situations.”

Casemiro confronts a referee.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Round of 16 First Leg – Atalanta v Real Madrid – Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy – February 24, 2021 Real Madrid’s Casemiro reacts to referee Tobias Stieler REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Casemiro abandoning Disney holiday

In fact, Casemiro is so dedicated to the cause of victory that he isn’t even afraid to let his family holidays fall by the wayside.

The Brazilian was allowed to report back to Real Madrid several weeks later than his teammates in the summer of 2019 having won the Copa America, subsequently buying plane tickets for his wife and daughter to enjoy the Disneyland parks of Orlando.

But when he watched on helpless as his Real chums were slapped 7-3 by Atletico Madrid in pre-season, he decided that “he simply could not be taking time out to ride rollercoasters and posing for pictures with Mickey Mouse while the club were getting so much criticism.”

As a consequence, Casemiro took the decision to cut his holidays short and returned to training 10 days earlier than scheduled.

Atletico beat Real Madrid in 2019.
Jul 26, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A fight breaks out between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid during the second half of an International Champions Cup soccer series match at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Overcoming challenges in his youth

All this comes from an upbringing full of challenges where his father abandoned the family when Casemiro was just three years old and the future Real anchorman was diagnosed with hepatitis A in his teens.

When Casemiro had to spend three months on the sidelines as a consequence, he would often cry as he had to watch the other children play and even doubted whether or not he wanted to become a footballer anymore.

And even when he did break into the Sao Paulo first-team, the challenges didn’t end there with fans turning on him in 2012 by chanting: “Casemiro is dead,” amidst unfavourable comparisons to Moura.

Take a bow, Casemiro

So to battle through all of those hardships to become one of the best players in the world all these years later really is a testament to Casemiro’s drive, dedication and general personality.

It paints a portrait of a man who not only has the footballing skills to make a success of himself at Old Trafford, but also exactly the sort of mentality and commitment that embodies ‘The United Way’.

So, while it might not be a transfer without its negative aspects in what it says about the Glazers regime, rest assured that the Red Devils have nevertheless got themselves a born winner ready to give his all for the cause.

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