Real Madrid welcome Elche to the Santiago Bernabeu this afternoon mere days after they came back to beat them in the Copa del Rey during the week just gone.
Carlo Ancelotti, speaking in his pre-match press conference, took the opportunity to make public a declaration of love for Casemiro, the most difficult player to replace in Madrid’s squad.
Eduardo Camavinga started in his stead during the week, but the Frenchman doesn’t have the same tactical nous as Casemiro. Fede Valverde has also played there, but it’s not his best position.
“If we are going to look [in the market] for a copy of Casemiro, we’ll make a mistake,” Ancelotti said in comments carried by Diario AS. “There are none in world football. He’s unique.
“But other players can play as a pivot. Camavinga played there, who has other characteristics. He carries the ball well but he doesn’t have Casemiro’s tactical ability. I’ve never had a pivot like him. I had [Andrea] Pirlo [at Milan] who had different characteristics. You have to adapt to what you have.”
But Madrid have looked for a player to deputise for the Brazilian. Frank Kessie, currently at Milan, is the best placed, while Antonio Blanco is also similar but hasn’t really been trusted by Ancelotti.
Casemiro will be missing however when Brazil play two CONMEBOL qualifiers. They face Ecuador and Paraguay between the end of January and the beginning of February, although they’ve already qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.