Casemiro's Man Utd exit stance, phone call to club chief and teammate's furious reaction
Manchester United midfielder Casemiro has endured a difficult start to the new campaign, but the Brazilian maestro played a major role for Erik ten Hag's side last year
The Brazil international, 32, has looked a shadow of the player who quickly established himself as one of United's most influential players last year in recent weeks and was alarmingly off the pace in Saturday's chastening 3-1 loss at home to Brighton.
Several pundits, including Old Trafford favourite Rio Ferdinand, raised concerns over the £70million transfer fee United parted with to bring Casemiro to Manchester 12 months ago, while others questioned whether or not the midfielder would have the adaptability or the appetite to play a substantial in Erik ten Hag's ambitious rebuilding project.
Casemiro may have fallen short of expectations this season, but criticism of the former Real Madrid superstar is harsh. If there is anybody who still has plenty of credit in the bank, it's Casemiro...
Given that Casemiro had become accustomed to success during a near-decade-long stint at Real Madrid, it would have been understandable had he shunned interest from Manchester United after watching them get torn apart by Brentford last August.
If anybody had any doubts about Casemiro's hunger to achieve success with a new team after winning it all in Madrid, they were quickly quashed.
Real Madrid may have gleefully pocketed the £70m fee United stumped up for Casemiro, but the decision to sell their chief enforcer was not a universally popular one.
Toni Kroos played alongside Casemiro and appeared to be frustrated by the transfer, initially saying: "The Premier League has not won an international title this year. Television money has been significantly higher in England for years and yet it hasn't resulted in English teams winning everything. Thank God not all players look only at salary but also at winning."
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After his dig, Kroos clarified his thoughts via Universo Valdano on Spanish TV, where he expressed his sadness at Casemiro's decision to depart the Bernabeu - indicating the midfielder still had plenty to offer the Spanish giants.
He added: "I was surprised by Casemiro's departure. It is true that the rumours started two days before, but here there are always many rumours and many times nothing happens. But when he told me I was sad, because I began to remember all the years with him and the things we win together."
Casemiro may have flattered to deceive this season, but it is worth remembering that his first season at Old Trafford saw him attract transfer interest from clubs elsewhere.
Casemiro's camp quickly made it clear, though, that their client had no interest in moving on and was determined to win titles at Old Trafford. That loyalty shouldn't be downplayed; particularly after a horde of high-profile stars were lured to the Middle East by the riches on offer courtesy of the Saudi Pro league this summer.