Casemiro has sparked a revolution at Manchester United since his summer arrival from Real Madrid.
He got a lot of people talking after opting to leave the reigning European champions to join a struggling United side that had finished 7th in the Premier League last season and seemed to be going nowhere.
However, in just over six months since he came in, the Brazilian midfielder has already become a heroic figure among the United fans.
He’s brought something that they’ve been missing for a long time – acting as the perfect defensive midfielder to protect their backline from trouble.
Casemiro excelling at Manchester United
Casemiro has been, of course, more than just his defensive contribution.
He’s also scored five goals and provided five assists as well – which are really great numbers for someone playing as deep as he is. That includes his goal in the Red Devils’ 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final.
Casemiro was voted the Man of the Match for his heroics in the final, where he proved why a lot of fans regard him as the ultimate winner and specialist in winning finals. That was the 20th trophy he won in his career, which is far from done – with the midfielder still just 31.
Erik ten Hag has, of course, given him more flexibility and freedom to operate in the midfield than he got at Real Madrid – where his job was mostly strictly restricted to cutting down opposition attacks and often acting as a third centre-back.
At United, he’s given the license to roam forward with the ball and actually look to create chances with ambitious forward passes – then passing it sideways or back to the keeper.
While his creative skills have been especially impressive this season, Casemiro’s best attributes are in his ball-winning skills.
The way he can win back possession with his pitch-perfect interceptions or tackles are almost unmatched in the world of football.
He’s almost like a hungry hound in chasing opposition players and fighting his way into regaining possession for his side before looking to send his forward players through into the attack.
What did Casemiro say about his playing style?
He’s averaged 3.2 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per 90 minutes (as per WhoScored) in the Premier League for United this season – putting in heroic performances against teams like Man City, Liverpool and more.
A few years ago, Casemiro used the interesting analogy of food when describing his playing style and aggression on the pitch.
He said: “I’m aggressive in how I go for the ball. I don’t care if it’s the second or 90th minute, I always go for the ball like I am going for a plate of food. I always go for a ball as if it were my last.”
In a more recent interview after the Carabao Cup final, he gave a new retelling of this analogy and said: “People who already know me understand I go after the ball as if it’s a plate of food. This is my character, that didn’t happen because it was a final or whatever. I attack every ball as if it was the last one.”
Of course, he has had to simmer down his aggression a little bit knowing how it could get him into trouble in the Premier League. Casemiro hardly got yellow cards in La Liga but is now being more clever with his aggressive challenges knowing that they can get him into trouble in the Premier League.
He already proved himself to learn from his mistakes by refusing to get into a brawl that took place in United’s win over Barcelona in the Europa League, after getting sent off earlier in the season for doing so against Crystal Palace.
Casemiro is now acting as a mature leader for United and leading from the front in helping them rediscover their glory days. He already helped put an end to their five-and-a-half-year trophy drought by bagging the Carabao Cup and looks intent on winning more as this inspired season continues for the Red Devils.