Real Madrid: 3 players who must step up after Sergio Ramos’ knee injury

Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Casemiro
Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

DM Casemiro

Like Raphael Varane, Casemiro had a strong individual performance in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Huesca this weekend. The Brazilian had nine defensive involvements, per, and you shudder to wonder what this injury-plagued defense would look like without the experienced defensive midfielder making crucial tackles and interceptions.

Casemiro wasn’t always at his best this season – again, the same can be said for Varane – but he’s picked it up defensively recently. On the ball, there will always be question marks, but his importance to the team as a whole is without doubt. Casemiro is a “glue guy”, and they need him that much more whenever the hard-running, quick-thinking Sergio Ramos isn’t available.

There’s another area in which Casemiro deserves high praise, and that is his goal-scoring. Casemiro has been a real threat in the air when in the box on set pieces, getting on the end of many of Toni Kroos’ delightful deliveries. In fact, he is actually Real Madrid’s second-leading goal-scorer behind Karim Benzema this season in La Liga, as he’s found the back of the net four times.

Casemiro will be an X-Factor in the Champions League, as Atalanta are a quick-attacking team and will try to stretch the defensive midfielder wider.