The El Clasico is only about two weeks away and both teams would already be looking ahead to the highly anticipated fixture. Madrid and Barcelona are level on points in the La Liga standings and that fixture to an extent could determine who puts one leg up in the title race.
The Catalans are supposedly favourites for the fixture and with Messi winning his sixth Ballon d’Or , it’s safe to say the Argentine would be in a “generous” mood at the moment. Los Blancos are no walk-over as well and It’s more logical to see the game as a completely open one for the taking – rather than in any one’s favour.
However, Madrid could be facing a potential disadvantage. As per Transfermarkt, Madrid midfielder Casemiro is one yellow card away from being suspended for one game. That wouldn’t be all that relevant but Madrid will face Valencia and Barcelona away from the Bernabeu right after hosting Espanyol this weekend, which means that the midfielder will need to complete the matches against Espanyol and Valencia without getting booked if he wants to play El Clasico.
Considering both games could yet be physical ones, It’ll not be out of hand to imagine that the Brazilian could yet pick up what could be a “needless” booking with so much more consequences moving forward. It leaves his manager with a difficult decision to make ahead of both clashes. Should he rest the 27-year-old for the Espanyol clash, the Valencia fixture or even both of them perhaps?
Zinedine Zidane could always give Casemiro some rest against Espanyol but the away match in Valencia will be a very tough and intense one, so the Brazilian midfielder will be needed ultimately. It would make no sense saving Casemiro for Barcelona if Madrid end up dropping points before then.
Knowing the Brazilian to be a tireless workhorse, he would more than likely want to play all available games. As per Whoscored, Casemiro has played a total of 1650 minutes so far this season, which not surprisingly is the most of any Madrid player so far.
Clearly explaining that he might not score goals as a Benzema (obviously not based on his position) but is equally as influential as the Frenchman in the dynamics of the team.
Casemiro is a crucial player for Real Madrid and doesn’t have an obvious replacement in the current roster, so his absence against either Valencia or Barcelona would be very problematic. Fede Valverde will probably be asked to replace Casemiro when Zidane decides to rotate, but he’s more comfortable as a box-to-box midfielder than as a defensive anchor.
The Brazilian midfielder should’ve probably tried to get booked during Los Blancos’ last fixture against Alaves, but now he will need to play 90 minutes at Mestalla without a yellow card. Casemiro missing the El Clasico will be a huge blow for Madrid but it is all in his hands now – or rather dependent on what he does with his feet.