Real Madrid: Don’t worry about Casemiro’s slow start

Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid star defensive midfielder Casemiro hasn’t been his usual self to start the 2020-2021 season, but he should be the least of anyone’s worries.

From start to finish, there wasn’t a more consistent performer for Real Madrid last season than Casemiro. The Brazilian defensive midfielder was the only man playing the position for Los Blancos, giving his all each and every week as a key component of the best defense among Europe’s top five leagues.

To start the 2020-2021 La Liga season, Casemiro hasn’t been quite as brilliant. He’s shown up well defensively with 2.8 tackles per game and 1.8 interceptions per game, according to Those are around his season averages from 2019-2020.

But Casemiro hasn’t looked at his best on the ball, hurting the way he contributes to the Real Madrid offense. As good as he is defensively, his ability to help the attack, such as when he scored two crucial goals to beat Sevilla earlier in 2020, helps set him apart from some peers at the position.

Case was targeted by Levante on Matchday 5 at the Estadio de la Ceramica, as the opponents focused their pressing on the defensive midfielder. And more often than he should have, Casemiro made a poor pass or coughed up the ball, creating one of those quick counters that Levante’s attack thrives off of.

Real Madrid will need Casemiro to step up

Against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League and in a few other matches this season, Casemiro showed that his weakness is making head-scratching passes that gift the opposition opportunities. So what we’re seeing isn’t uncommon, just exaggerated.

The 28-year-old midfielder is averaging under one key pass per game and only 0.5 dribbles per game, completing under 80 percent of his passes. Real Madrid will need Casemiro to step it up offensively after the October international break, because, defensive stalwart or not, those are unacceptable numbers for a starting midfielder at this club.

But Casemiro will definitely right the ship. There’s early-season rust to shake off for several players, namely Case and striker Karim Benzema, who finally scored late against Levante after uncharacteristically missing chances.

Benzema and Casemiro were Real Madrid’s attacking and midfield superstars last season, standing as arguably the team’s most important players alongside captain Sergio Ramos and Zamora winner Thibaut Courtois.

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So Casemiro is the least of Madridista’s worries. As concerning as some elements of his play have been to start the season, the No. 6 is the best in the world at what he does. He entrenched himself as the best in 2019-2020, so months later, a three-game stretch of middling performances should be seen for what it is. What Case is experiencing is a slump and nothing more. And true to his class, even in his slump, he is still playing very well defensively by anyone else’s standards – just maybe not his.