Casemiro is one of Zinedine Zidane’s favourites, but how healthy is that for Real Madrid?

With Real Madrid’s La Liga match against Leganes effectively decided in the first half, with the capital club 3-0 up at half time, Zinedine Zidane took the opportunity in the second half to rotate his team. Karim Benzema was given a rest, with Toni Kroos also withdrawn for the final half hour or so.

One player who stayed on the pitch was Casemiro. That shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. He always stays on the pitch. In fact, the Brazilian has become such a favourite of Zidane’s he has become a punchline. Along with Lucas Vazquez, Casemiro is mocked for being the teacher’s pet.

“I am here to play,” Casemiro said after the comfortable win over Leganes, responding to a question about Zidane’s decision not to take off the Brazilian. “The coach knows the minutes I have to play; I’m resting more when the matches end. We have a coaching staff that knows the moments [where] I have to rest. I’m in really good form, I’m really enjoying it and I want to play all the time.”

It’s certainly true that Real Madrid look a more structured team with Casemiro at the base of their midfield. In recent weeks, the Brazilian has forged a strong understanding with Fede Valverde, the young Uruguayan who has made quite the impression over the early part of the season.

That has left just one position for Kroos and Luka Modric. In a way, it has helped Zidane that both players have suffered from injuries of late, but the pair are close to regaining full fitness and so the Real Madrid boss might have a tough decision to make. Whatever decision he comes to, you can bet that Casemiro won’t be the one to miss out.

Casemiro has been one of Zidane’s most reliable performers over his two spells as Real Madrid manager and so it’s only natural that the Frenchman continues to show faith in the 27-year-old. But it’s not probably not so healthy for a team like Real Madrid, a team that plays so many games in a season, to be so reliant on a single figure. In isolation, Zidane’s refusal to give Casemiro a rest against Leganes mattered little, but it said a lot about how he sees the fragility of his side.

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Zidane’s Real Madrid return could offer reprieve for Isco

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The return to La Liga side Real Madrid of Zinedine Zidane could spell a return to first team action for midfielder Isco, after previous boss Santiago Solari froze out the Spanish international this season.

The former Malaga player has not started a La Liga game since Solari replaced Julen Lopetegui in back in October 2018, and the club announced earlier this week that they would be opening disciplinary proceedings against him, after he missed a team meeting.

However, with Zidane coming back to the club he left nine months ago, he could look to bring the 26 year-old back in from the cold.

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Real Madrid all but surrender late title bid with shock defeat to Girona

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Last Sunday morning, the Santiago Bernabeu bore witness to what may well have been the end of Real Madrid’s thin hopes of a late La Liga title challenge.

The Spanish giants and current Champions League holders stumbled to a 2-1 defeat to bottom-half side Girona in front of their disillusioned fans.

Girona are enjoying only their third season in the top flight of Spanish football having been promoted to La Liga for the first time in 2016.

Let’s take a look at the fantasy football heroes and zeroes after this surprise win for the Catalonian club.

Real Madrid given La Liga head start in 2019

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Real Madrid will have a chance to lay down a 2019 marker to their La Liga rivals on Thursday night, before any other top four side has kicked a ball in 2019.

Santiago Solari’s side head to Villarreal for their first game of the calendar year, with a home game against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

The reason being that due Real’s involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup, they have played a fixture less than their rivals this season.

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Defensive issues for Solari ahead of Valencia test

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Santiago Solari knew that life as Real Madrid manager would not be an easy ride, but following his first defeat last weekend, he now faces a huge La Liga clash against Valencia on Saturday.

The defending European champions were defeated 3-1 away at Eibar in La Liga Game Week 13, ending Solari’s honeymoon period of four unbeaten games in all competitions since taking over from Zinedine Zidane.

The Argentinian welcomed back first team stars Raphael Varane and Marcelo to his defence, following injury, but they were unable to keep Eibar out at the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua.

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Casemiro- The Next Makelele

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14962557423749The Santiago Bernabeu wore a festive look with the club supporters in a state of excitement. It seemed as if Christmas had come early. There was every reason to believe so with their beloved team Real Madrid all set to battle it out against fierce rivals Barcelona at home, trailing the latter by just 3 points. A win at home had every chance of generating the momentum necessary for a league challenge.

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique had opted to rest Argentine superstar Lionel Messi who had been a major threat in previous fixtures scoring goals and assists with great splendour which was nothing short of music to the ears. At the same time, Spanish manager Rafa Benitez had fielded a lineup consisting of some of the most attacking minded midfielders in the business like Luka Modric, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos.

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Brazil make a strong statement with an impressive win over Mexico

Brazil v Argentina - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier
Undoubtedly, Brazil were the most comfortable winners in the last-16 stage of the FIFA World Cup. Out of eight games, three were decided on penalties, and four teams registered a single-goal over their respective opponents in normal time. Continue reading

La Liga Team of the Week

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Want to see our team of the week from La Liga’s most recent action? Check it out here!

Daniel Gimenez, Real Betis – seven points

The keeper has played twice for his club this season, keeping consecutive clean sheets in the process.

The 34-year-old’s performance helped his side to a 1-0 win over Girona and he will be hoping his run can put him in the frame as a first team contender for next season.

Damian Suarez, Getafe – nine points

The 29-year-old scored the decisive goal in his side’s fiery 1-0 win in which Flamini saw red in the second half.

The side’s ability to dig in for the win symbolised a mentality that has seen Suarez earn eleven clean sheets and 45 points across the season.

Sime Vrsaljko, Atletico madrid – seven points

The Croatian international has not always been a fixture this season but always dependable when called upon.

With 11 clean sheets and four assists in his 17 games, Vrsaljko  remains more than valuable to Diego Simeone.

Diego Godin, Atletico – five points

The Uruguayan has kept a highly impressive 17 clean sheets this season, helping him to 78 points so far across the campaign.

His exploits helped Atletico onto an impressive 3-0 win this weekend as they look to run the campaign in with a flourish.

Victor Laguardia, Alaves – five points

Another player to be named in our team of the week for consecutive turns, his Alaves side ran out 1-0 winners against an uninspired Eibar.

Laguardia now has six clean sheets this season, an impressive tally when considering the fact he has managed just 14 appearances over the campaign.

Casemiro, Real Madrid – four points

The Brazilian scored what proved to be a pivotal second goal for his side as they ran out 2-1 victors against an all-but-relegated Malaga.

Casemiro may not have had the best of campaigns over 2017/18 but his goal saw him hit 35 points for the season.

Daniel Parejo, Valencia – four points

Parejo has managed 49 points across the campaign, his seven goals and seven assists seemingly likely to help Valencia to a Champions League spot for next season.

Parejo scored a late penalty during the weekends action, but it was not enough to facilitate an unlikely come back at the Camp Nou.

Philippe Coutinho, Barcelona – four points

Coutinho is finally starting to find his groove for Barcelona, setting up his one-time Liverpool team mate Luis Suarez to score the games opener.

The Brazilian now has nine goals and 11 assists across La Liga and the Premier League, seeing him hit 77 points across the two competitions.

Angel Correa, Atletico Madrid – eight points

The Argentine midfielder has been a valuable member of the Atletico side this season, making 32 appearances for Simeone’s men.

Correa now has 75 points, thanks in part to his 15 goals – one of which game in their comprehensive win over Levante.

Isco, Real Madrid – six points

It’s been a tough campaign for many in the white of Madrid but Isco has arguably been one of the better performers.

He got the opener against his old side Malaga as he hit six goals and six assists in his 27 games.

Adrian Lopez, Deportivo La Coruna – eight points

It’s been a disappointing season for relegation threatened La Coruna but Adrian’s brace in the 3-2 victory over Bilbao gives them a sniff at survival.

If they are to stay up then the form that has seen him secures nine goals in 25 appearances will prove crucial.

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Top Performers from this week’s La Liga action

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Having secured a convincing victory over Alaves, Real Madrid dominate the top performers from the weekend’s action – bagging five of the 11 positions across the team.

Check out which top performers from the Bernabau, and the rest of the league, earned a spot in our team of the week.

Keylor Navas, Real Madrid – seven points

The Costa Rican keeper has received his fair share of criticism this season with Madrid having had a bad start to the season but he showed what he can do at his very best this weekend as he kept a clean sheet in his side’s 4-0 home win over Alaves.

The 31-year-old has kept just five clean sheets on his way to 17 points. With his side seeing an upturn in form, he’ll be hoping to see a few more head his way. Continue reading

Los 5 mejores centrocampistas de la jornada 11 en la Liga

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Se recuerdan pocas jornadas con un solo empate entre todos los encuentros ligeros. La jornada undécima ha sido así; tan solo el partido entre el Betis y el Getafe se ha saldado con un reparto de puntos, en todos los demás, ha habido victoria para unos u otros. Esto denota, al margen del potencial ofensivo de cada plantilla, un desequilibrio en el centro del campo. Porque muchos partidos se ganan desde esa posición. Gracias a ello, estos son los 5 mejores centrocampistas de esta jornada.

Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)
Asensio no solo es una garantía para la plantilla de Zidane, sino que además ya es el máximo goleador de todo el equipo en Liga con 4 tantos. Frente a Las Palmas tuvo destellos de calidad, como el golazo que anotó, pero también vital para asentar el juego y devolver la calma a un Madrid que estaba en horas bajas. Continue reading