Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag believes Casemiro joined the club from Real Madrid because he wanted to prove himself in new surroundings.
The Brazilian midfielder arrived at Old Trafford earlier this summer in a deal worth around £70 million. The move raised eyebrows as he had only just played a vital role in Los Blancos’ La Liga and UEFA Champions League victories in the 2021-22 season.
However, Ten Hag has now outlined his conversation with Casemiro and why the defensive midfielder switched Real Madrid for Manchester United. He said during a press conference (as quoted by Manchester Evening News):
“He told me he needs a new challenge because at Real Madrid he won everything. He was a big part at Real Madrid and they didn’t want him to go but he had the feeling ‘I have to go to another club, another league to prove myself and that shows his hunger.'”
The Dutch tactician lauded the Brazilian for his mentality, saying:
“I really like that. From the first day he has come with that attitude in every training, every match and I really like it. He will be more and more important to our team.”
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Prior to his departure this summer, Casemiro spent nine years on Real Madrid’s books, having joined their B team from Sao Paulo in 2013. After a decent debut campaign, in which he played 25 times and won the Champions League, he spent the 2014-15 season on loan at FC Porto.
The midfielder returned to the Santiago Bernabeu as the finished product and quickly became a key component in their title-winning machine. Between 2015 and 2022, Casemiro made 311 appearances across all competitions, recording 31 goals and 29 assists.
He helped them win four more Champions League titles, three La Liga trophies, three UEFA Super Cups, three FIFA Club World Cups and the Copa del Rey.
Casemiro has quickly become indispensable for Manchester United
Many analysts questioned whether Casemiro, at 30, would be the solution to Manchester United’s well-documented troubles in midfield. However, after a fairly slow integration into the side, he has displayed his immense quality to become a permanent fixture in the Red Devils’ starting XI.
The former Real Madrid star has started each of their last five Premier League matches, with United winning thrice and drawing twice in that run. He provided a game-clinching assist in a 2-1 victory over Everton and scored an injury-time equalizer against Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Casemiro also leads Manchester United in tackles made in the Premier League this season with 27 despite playing just 82 minutes over their first five games. The five-time Champions League winner has also quickly become a fan favorite due to his consistency.
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