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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

‘All due respect’ – Man Utd star pinpoints Barcelona’s ‘most important player’ alongside Lionel Messi, he ‘defined an era’

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Manchester United midfielder Casemiro has dropped the ultimate praise on one former Barcelona star after claiming he was the “team’s most important player” alongside Lionel Messi.

Casemiro made a name for himself during his remarkable spell at Real Madrid and was widely considered one of the best midfielders in the world at the time.

The 32-year-old Brazilian midfielder struck up a formidable partnership alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the heart of the Real Madrid midfield.

Casemiro hoovered up the major silverware during his time in the Spanish capital and lifted three La Liga titles, five Champions Leagues and a Copa del Rey.

The Brazil international made his exit from Madrid in 2022 and completed his blockbuster transfer to Manchester United in a deal worth up to £70m.

Casemiro crossed paths with Lionel Messi on the international stage with Brazil and during the heated El Clasico rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona.

Messi, who is now at Inter Miami, is widely considered one of the best players of all time and played a pivotal part in Barcelona’s success during the 2000s and 2010s.

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Casemiro of Real Madrid battle for the ball with Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelo...

Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Lionel Messi captured an incredible silverware haul before his exit from Barcelona, including lifting 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Reys.

The 36-year-old Argentine forward was a linchpin figure in Barcelona’s legendary teams of the past, including under Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Speaking to Manchester United’s official website, Casemiro insisted that former Barcelona star Sergio Busquets was as important to the club as Messi.

Sergio Busquets, who has reunited with Messi at Inter Miami, had a remarkable partnership with Barcelona legends Andres Iniesta and Xavi in the heart of midfield.

The 35-year-old Spanish defensive midfielder made a whopping 722 appearances for Barcelona during a remarkable playing spell at the Camp Nou.

Busquets, who left Barcelona in 2023, captured nine La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Reys during his time with the Spanish club.

Casemiro revealed he is a big admirer of the former Spain midfielder and claimed Busquets was a player who “defined an era” at the club alongside Messi.

“I’m a great admirer of Busquets,” he said.

“Though we play quite far apart from each other, he plays as a first midfielder like I do on the other side, so we don’t have that many battles, he tried to command his team and I try to command my team.

“I enjoy talking about such players, it’s a pleasure, players who were winners and defined a footballing era.

“It’s an absolute pleasure for me, especially to speak about Busquets, with whom I had great battles for a long time.

“He was a player who defined an era. For me, alongside [Lionel] Messi, he was the team’s most important player.

“All due respect to the others, in my opinion, alongside Messi, in Barcelona’s most successful spell, Busquets was the most important player alongside Messi. So, it’s great that football has produced such admirable players.”

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Casemiro on Brazilian midfielders

Casemiro opened up on his admiration for Brazilian midfielders and claimed his native homeland “always specialised” in producing central midfield players.

“I could give you five names, defensive midfielders in particular, as Brazil has always had a production line of such players, specialists in their position,” he said.

“Mauro Silva, Dunga, Donato as well who played for [Deportivo] La Coruna. Players from before that were specialists in the No 6 position.

“More recently we’ve had Fernandinho who was another great player, Fabinho, another great player. I think Brazil has always specialised in the central midfield position.”

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