Casemiro says Real Madrid 'cannot keep thinking' about Cristiano Ronaldo

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The Brazilian hobbled off in the second-half.

Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro says the club have moved on from legend Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 26-year-old hobbled off injured with a muscle injury during the Whites’ UEFA Super Cup defeat to Atletico Madrid to cap a miserable night in Tallinn.

It is thought the former Porto man could now miss this weekend’s home La Liga opener against Getafe while he believes new boss Julen Lopetegui’s tenure has begun well, despite the loss to Diego Simeone’s men.

Casemiro feels the ex-Spain boss is already getting across ideas, which in turn have made Ronaldo an after-thought.

“Sure, we cannot cover things, Cristiano showed here that he has been the best in the world,” he told reporters post-match. “But it is already past, we cannot keep thinking about him.”

He added: “We have to talk about the players we have. We want to make a stronger, more solid team, but Cristiano is already in the past.

“It’s still the beginning of everything.

“Julen is doing a great job, trying to maintain the illusion, which is not easy.”

Watch Casemiro below:

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Florentino Perez could open Real Madrid chequebook following Atletico Madrid defeat

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Will Real make any new acquisitions before transfer window deadline?

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is apparently considering whether Los Blancos need to dip into the transfer market and bring in new faces ahead of the August 31 window deadline in Spain.

According to Marca, Wednesday night’s UEFA Super Cup defeat to city rivals Atletico Madrid in Tallinn – their first continental European final loss in 18 years – has given Perez plenty of food for thought.

Ahead of the new season, the Whites still look light up top following Cristiano Ronaldo‘s departure to Juventus and there is an argument to suggest signing another forward to support first-choice front-three Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale would be a wise move.

The issue Los Blancos have is that all of their No1 summer transfer targets are out of reach, with pursuits for PSG duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar grinding to a quick halt, while Bayern Munich refused to allow star man Robert Lewandowski to leave the Allianz Arena.

It leaves Real’s options limited, and even a world-record chase for Chelsea‘s Eden Hazard wouldn’t solve their goals shortage.

For now, the club will be hoping Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior enjoys a rapid rise in his first season in the Spanish capital but expect Perez and his team to be working right up until the deadline to find reinforcements.

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Julen Lopetegui has plenty of work to do at Real Madrid as we put his debut in focus

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Head coach Julen Lopetegui endured a chastening competitive debut for Real Madrid as capital rivals Atleti raced to a 4-2 extra-time victory in the UEFA Super Cup.

Spain striker Diego Costa lashed in on 49 seconds, before French centre forward Karim Benzema’s header and captain Sergio Ramos’ nerveless penalty put Madrid in front.

Costa tapped in on 79 minutes to level things up and Atleti took control from there. Midfielder Saul Niguez struck a stunning half volley and Koke’s low shot provided a fine end to an incisive move.

Here, we review the performance of Lopetegui in the dugout at Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn, Estonia.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 2

Shots – 14

Possession – 59%

Tackles – 36

Dribbles – 21

30-SECOND REPORT

A fresh start for Madrid generated only nuanced changes to the line-up.

In the absence of Zinedine Zidane in the dugout and Cristiano Ronaldo up top, new boss Lopetegui made a slight tweak from the 4-3-1-2 formation that ended 2017/18.

His charges performed in a 4-3-3. Benzema went through the middle and Isco dropped back slightly into the centre midfield.

Madrid had more possession (59/41 per cent) and attempts on goal (14/8). But Madrid managed to generate better chances, from fewer opportunities.

Surprisingly for a team of Atleti’s aerial dominance, the goals came from a perfect Bale cross and then a penalty won from a corner.

With pre-season edging towards to close, alarm bells will ring about how poorly Madrid defended. In one game under Lopetegui they conceded four times, something never witnessed in two-and-a-half years with Zidane in charge.

Centre-backs Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos – admittedly not always ironclad under Zidane – struggled from the start. Costa bullied them for the opener and an awful pass from Ramos to Varane led to the fourth.

These problems multiplied when Brazil anchorman Casemiro was forced off in pain during the second half.

Lopetegui now needs time on the training pitch to further enforce fresh ideas.

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Benzema goes deep

Benzema was very much the supporting actor to Ronaldo’s leading man.

This selflessness was not always appreciated. A return of five goals in 32 La Liga matches during 2017/18 wasn’t purely caused by poor finishing – Benzema drifted wide and created space for his legendary partner to exploit.

In Estonia, the middle ground was all his. Often he retreated into the midfield, leaving Madrid without a focal point.

However, this strategy gained validation in the 27th minute. Benzema charged into the penalty box when Bale picked the ball up, several elusive changes of direction bamboozling Montenegro centre-back Stefan Savic and allowing space to expertly head home.

The exiled France striker would also force Juanfran’s handball past the hour mark.

Against weaker opposition than Diego Simeone’s fearsome and settled Atleti, he must produce far more attempts than his two on Wednesday night. Goals have to follow.

VERDICT

This was only a ceremonial match, but reasons for worry were present.

The absence of Ronaldo’s ubiquitous threat and a failure to procure a requisite replacement diminished Madrid – and emboldened Atleti.

Varane and Ramos must get back on a wavelength with haste. Keylor Navas was uncertain in goal – good job Thibaut Courtois was watching from the stands.

Murmurs about Lopetegui’s lack of success at an elite club level will now start to grow in volume. Plus, president Florentino Perez’s inaction – or in ability – to strike in the transfer market.

Positively speaking, Bale looks ready to assume the mantle of Madrid’s main man. The threat out wide with Marco Asensio will be too much for most teams.

La Liga kicks off on Monday. Will the Champions League holders be ready?

Rating – 5/10

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