Is Casemiro really untouchable in the Real Madrid starting lineup?

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

In the summer of 2003, Real Madrid made arguably one of their greatest mistakes ever. The mistake that I’m referring to is the departure of Claude Makélélé, easily one of the most important players to play for Real Madrid during that time.

Zinedine Zidane said it best when referring to his departure when he famously said this:

"“Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?” – Zinedine Zidane in 2003"

This widely regarded quote summed up the departure of Makélélé to a tee. Real Madrid lost their team’s backbone, and it took them a while before they were the same again.

The reason for his departure was widely due to the fact that Florentino Pérez couldn’t afford to resign the Frenchman’s contract after spending the club’s resources on signing David Beckham from Manchester United in that same summer transfer window.

It was a shame, and the man that has a role named after him was indeed one of the most underrated yet integral players to ever play for Real Madrid.

After his departure, it was a while before we saw Real Madrid have a player like him. Makélélé’s role at Real Madrid was to operate as an anchorman that protected the back four. There are very few that play this role in world football today, but it’s a role that could certainly prove to be a massive asset to a football club’s tactical system.

Real Madrid
Real Madrid (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /

Casemiro was the missing piece who turned Real Madrid into a powerhouse

However, the wait finally ended for Real as in 2016, as Los Blancos finally got their Makélélé back in the form of Casemiro. Since Casemiro’s breakthrough in Madrid’s starting lineup, he’s added much importance to the squad, and the club hasn’t looked back since.

Ironically, it was Zidane in 2016 that gave the Brazilian defensive midfielder his breakthrough for Real Madrid with his famous Makélélé quote ringing true. Zidane was right all along, and since Casemiro has been an integral part of Real Madrid’s eleven, he has been untouchable ever since.

Part of the historic midfield trio alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić, these three have been running Madrid’s midfield for a long time, but the question indeed arises to their longevity. How long can they keep it up for? Are they still untouchable to this day?

More specifically, Casemiro has been a player that hasn’t had his starting spot hindered whatsoever or hasn’t had a suitable challenger since he’s made the number six role his own.

While Kroos and Modrić have notable competition in the form of Fede Valverde, why doesn’t Casemiro have a successor or any sort of viable competition in the starting lineup?

Real Madrid, Casemiro, Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid, Casemiro, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Casemiro brings traits to the table nobody else on Real Madrid does

Casmeiro has played most of Madrid’s matches this season and has played more than his counterparts, Kroos and Modrić. The reason is quite simple: there isn’t a player in Real Madrid’s current squad that can do what Casemiro does.

While there have been some trials from Carlo Ancelotti to play Eduardo Camavinga in the Casemiro role, the 19-year-old hasn’t looked comfortable in that role and ultimately is still inexperienced to serve as Real Madrid’s anchorman.

It’s a role that requires both experience and quality. It’s certainly not easy to play there, and you can’t be too critical of Camavinga to take up the mantle of that role. It’s also worth noting that Camavinga prefers to play more forward, specifically in the number eight role that Kroos and Modrić play.

When looking down on it, Casemiro is indeed practically untouchable in Real Madrid’s starting lineup. Regardless of how he performs, his starting spot won’t be touched for a very long time.

He provides so much to Real Madrid. His intensity, grit, powerhouse mentality, goal-scoring prowess, and tactical positioning have helped Real Madrid immensely. He can undoubtedly be attributed as one of the main reasons for the club’s success over the past six years since he’s made his debut.

In an era where many aren’t plentiful, Casemiro perfectly embodies the “Makélélé” role today, and it’s lovely to see the Brazilian revive such a significant role.

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Madrid president Pérez indeed made a massive mistake with Makélélé in 2003, but he’s certainly learned his lesson and values Casemiro dearly. Casemiro is untouchable in Madrid’s starting lineup, and rightfully so.