Casemiro: ‘Even today I get a little nervous talking to Zidane’

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Real Madrid’s indestructible defensive midfielder on how a lie helped him to the top, reading minds and facing Manchester City

The day Carlinhos Casimiro went on trial at São Paulo, coaches gathered the hopefuls and asked what position they played. From the town of São José dos Campos 150km north-east, about 11 years old, he was one of maybe 300 kids of which 50 might make the cut – if they were lucky. He was also a striker, the most popular position, so when they were called he did what he had to do: he lied. A familiar cherubic smile creeps across his face and fills the screen as he remembers the moment almost two decades on.

Fifty, 60, hands went up, maybe more, so his stayed down. Casemiro – the spelling changed years later when a shirt was printed wrong – didn’t much like those odds. Next, they asked who was a No 10, his other position. More hands went up. Again, his didn’t: it was still a lot of kids. When they asked for defensive midfielders, he remembers there being eight or nine. Seeing an opportunity, he raised his hand. “Me,” he said, “I am.”

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Written by Sid Lowe
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/aug/05/casemiro-zidane-real-madrid-defensive-midfielder-manchester-city under the title “

Casemiro: ‘Even today I get a little nervous talking to Zidane’

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