Casemiro admitted Cristiano Ronaldo is missed at Real Madrid but insisted the European champions have moved on as he put his faith in head coach Julen Lopetegui following Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup defeat.
Life without five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo – who left for Serie A giants Juventus in the off-season – started with a 4-2 loss to city rivals Atletico Madrid after extra time in Tallinn midweek.
Goals from Karim Benzema and Madrid captain Sergio Ramos cancelled out Diego Costa’s sensational opener before the Atletico star netted his second to send the match to extra time as Saul Niguez and Koke downed the three-time reigning Champions League holders.
The result meant former Spain boss Lopetegui became the first Madrid coach to lose his first competitive match in charge since Bernd Schuster in 2007, having replaced Zinedine Zidane.
However, Madrid midfielder and Brazil international Casemiro – who planned to be substituted in the second half as he allayed injury concerns after hobbling off – backed Lopetegui to deliver at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“Sure, we cannot cover things, Cristiano showed here that he has been the best in the world,” Casemiro said. “But it is already past, we cannot keep thinking about him.
“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,” he added. “Julen is doing a great job, trying to maintain the illusion, which is not easy.
2-4: The Super Cup is decided in extra time. https://t.co/9vt9elFaoy
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) August 15, 2018
“We have won four Champions Leagues in the last five years. We have won almost everything, he is doing a great job maintaining the players’ illusion of winning.
“It’s still too early to talk about Julen. We cannot cover Julen’s work by tonight’s result.”
Casemiro continued: “Making excuses is not my profile or that of Madrid. There are no excuses.
“Atletico scored four goals against us and I think we have also done a lot of good things. We have to congratulate Atletico and keep working.”
“I do not speak of specific mistakes because when we win, we all win and when we lose we all lose, they are team mistakes,” the Brazilian added.