Casemiro left European Champions Real Madrid for Europe League competitors Manchester United in an €81.3 million deal this summer. David Alaba understands why he went.
Casemiro blossomed into one of, if not the, best ball-winning defensive midfielders in the world at Real Madrid, winning five Champions Leagues after first joining from Sao Paulo in 2013.
There is no chance of a sixth this season, with United finishing sixth last term thus only qualifying for the Europa League. Whilst the Brazilian was understood to have doubled his wages at Old Trafford, Alaba believes that he simply wanted a new challenge.
“I was in the same situation a year ago and we talked about it a lot,” the former Bayern Munich told Goal.com ahead of Real’s Champion League Group F meeting with Celtic in Glasgow.
“After nine years at Real Madrid he was looking for a new challenge. I wish him the best from the bottom of my heart.”
Casemiro yet to start
Casemiro is yet to start a game for United, with Scott McTominay shining as the Red Devils have gone on a four-match winning run which have included victories over Liverpool and Arsenal.
But he is expected to be given his first start against Real Sociedad in Europa League Group E on Thursday, and the 30-year-old can’t wait to get going.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” he told United’s official club website. “I feel like I’m 20 or 18 years of age, I’m raring to go, I’m excited to be amongst my teammates, playing in the stadium and I think that it’s just huge excitement and I’m absolutely delighted.”
Real beat Celtic 3-0 on Tuesday, with Aurelien Tchouameni – a €100m arrival from Monaco – shining in central midfield alongside Casemiro’s old partners in crime, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. When he went off on 71 minutes, he was replaced by another prodigious Frenchman in Eduardo Camavinga.