Xavi vs Casemiro – the cold war continues
There’s no doubt that Real Madrid have been successful in every campaign they laid their hands on since winning the La Decima in 2014. Brazilian midfielder, Casemiro has been a crucial part of this highly-successful Real Madrid squad and has secured his spot at the centre of the field.
The Barca-Madrid rivalry has been going on since ages and it would be fair to say that even the players who share the same nationality have had trouble on and off the field while playing against each other. The Ramos-Pique rivalry is a great example of this incident.
Recently, Real’s midfielder Casemiro took a dig at former Barca midfielder Xavi following the Spaniard’s statement stating that the Brazilian would be unable to play for the Catalan side.
Earlier this year, the 38-year-old Spaniard also claimed that the young Brazilian midfielder lacks creative sense while playing as a holding midfielder compared to his former FC Barcelona and Spanish national teammates, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta.
Adding to this, Xavi accepted that Casemiro may be a lot faster in his position than most of Camp Nou’s midfield, but he won’t be able to match the beauty and unique sense of the game that Busquets and Iniesta bring to the centre of the pitch. Both the Barca midfielder have come from Camp Nou’s high-profiled La Masia academy which aims at imparting their core footballing values to each player in their youth system.
"Madrid break apart, seven players attack and Casemiro stays back on his own to cover the centre," Xavi told El Pais in January. "Busquets cannot do that as even I am faster than he is. Casemiro is super-fast, but he has trouble with everything else as he has not worked on it,” said the Spaniard.
"He has other characteristics, is more defensive, makes more tackles, covers more ground, but he does not dominate space-time. If you had started with Casemiro aged 12, 13, 15, then he would have that," he said.
Responding to Barca’s long serving midfielder, who is currently a player-cum-manager at Qatar’s Al-Sadd, Casemiro aimed at a diplomatic reply to the entire scenario.
At the open media day when Casemiro was asked about Xavi's statements which stated that the Brazilian can never play for Barcelona, Casemiro replied: "Xavi said I can't play at Barcelona? Anyone can say whatever they want. But I've been here for four years and played in four Champions League finals."
"I couldn't sign for Barcelona, I don't have their footballing DNA like Xavi says. I'm with Madrid until the end," he continued.
The Brazilian midfielder returned to Madrid from Porto in 2015. Since then, he has been successful in winning trophies and earning ample amount of playing time under Zinedine Zidane. Casemiro has gone on to win the La Liga (2016–17), Copa del Rey (2013–14), Spanish Super Cup (2017), Champions League x 3 (2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17), UEFA Super Cup x 2 (2016, 2017) and FIFA Club World Cup x 2 (2016, 2017).
Casemiro is most likely to be a part of Real Madrid's starting line-up against Liverpool in the 2017-18 Champions League Final in Kiev where the Brazilian will have the chance to win his 4th UCL title, after winning the competition in 2014, 2016 and 2017 with Real Madrid.