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Julio Maldonado | 08/02/2013
Number 38. New Madrid signing Casemiro has his number, and the club have registered him for the Champions League, showing that he figures in Mourinho's plans. He appears to be the type of midfielder Mourinho is looking for. Last year, in May, he made his debut with the Brazilian national team, in a friendly against Denmark. Not in vain. He came on at the end of the match to play together with Rómulo in the midfield, his natural position. Up front they had Óscar. He also played part of the match against Argentina, the day unstoppable Messi put them to the sword (4-3 Argentina).
We'll look at his play in a second. First, a couple of points about his route to get here. He arrived at Sao Paulo when he was 11, having been outstanding as a youngster in the town of Sao José dos Campos, where he attended a school called Moreira Sport (which has produced other players, such as Sergio Motta or Gomes, until recently teammate of Beckham in the Galaxy).
The coach of Sao Paolo Juveniles played him and he grew rapidly as a player. He shone in the Brazilian Under-17 team with Neymar, and the comparisons with Felipe Melo came flooding in, especially for the intensity of his game. He was captain of Sao Paulo Juniors when they won the Copinha, the Junior Cup. Then he made his debut against Santos for the full team when he was 18, in July 2010. He scored his first top flight goal against Cruzeiro, and more were soon to come from his dangerous runs, and his venom with the dead ball. But, due to the outstanding moment Denilson and Wellington were enjoying, he was unable to hold down a regular place in the starting line up. Incredible, given not only that he was picked for the full team, but also because of the dazzling ability he'd shown in the South American Under-20s, with Neymar and Lucas Moura.
Casemira is a pure midfielder. His signing by Castilla, Real Madrid's 'B' team, was the surprise of the winter transfer market. For how good he is, and because he's gone to the second division, although no doubt Mourinho has him in mind for the first team. He's a tireless worker, has an excellent shot from distance and if he's allowed to come into the box, as he did in Sao Paulo, he would be a viable alternative to Khedira. He will get a chance, there's no doubt about it. He's dangerous in the air because of his size; a couple of his six goals for Sao Paulo came that way. He may not be a great organiser but he is a phenomenal addition. It remains to be seen how he will grow as a footballer. Inter and Juve were tracking him and he would undoubtedly have been successful in Italy. He likely will be in Spain too.
IMAGEN: Casemiro, arrives and shoots