Manchester United moved quickly in a move to bring Real Madrid star Casemiro to the club this week, with the Brazilian poised to sign a four-year contract with the Reds.
Rumours of a potential swoop for the 30-year-old were only floated on Tuesday this week but now, the club has confirmed that it has reached an agreement with Real Madrid over his transfer.
Since joining Real Madrid in 2013, Casemiro has established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world as he built a stellar partnership with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
Following the confirmation from both Real Madrid and United that a deal was imminent, the Los Blancos pair published emotional letters in Spanish publication Marca to display their gratitude toward their former team-mate.
“With you, my dear Case, it was impossible not to break a sweat… in any situation,” Kroos began. “Because you wouldn’t let us relax even in the Turkish bath. Meeting there was another torment: you told someone to go and you almost had exercise bikes and weights ready.
“A warning for your new colleagues to know. Because with you even the Turkish bath was a gym… and you only allow people to lie down when it’s time to do sit-ups,” the 2014 World Cup winner continued.
“I’m going to miss you. As an exemplary professional. As a top player. As a fighter who saved me from several… But, above all, as a good person. We have made history, damn it! What a legendary period…
“Now our sporting paths are parting, but our friendship remains. I can assure you of that. I wish you all the best, see you soon.
“Good luck to you.
Kroos’ touching letter was followed by an equally emotional write-up by fellow midfielder Modric, who made sure to remind supporters that he was at the Santiago Bernabeu when Casemiro first joined almost a decade ago.
“Dear Case, I still remember your debut with our club,” Modric wrote. “How nervous you were! I asked you to be calm and now I think about it and look how it turned out. What you have achieved! It was also my first season and neither of us could have imagined what soccer had in store for us.
“You have become a real leader. You have been one for your teammates and for madridismo. We will always remember you.
“We have won a lot together, but I’ll keep the moments that nobody sees. With the day-to-day work in Valdebebas. And above all with the jokes, because you were always in a good mood, even in moments of tension or when there were mistakes.
“Those laughs with you gave me peace of mind. Just like looking back and seeing you, knowing that there’s going to be a lot of “Njega-Njega”. You’ve been the best bodyguard in the world.
“I’m going to miss you, but I wish you the best. It’s what a professional and a person like you deserves.
“Thanks for everything and best of luck, my friend!”
The spectacular trio have cemented themselves into football folklore and it’s hard to argue against the idea that Casemiro, Modric and Kroos combined to become the best midfield of all time.
All three of them have won the Champions League five times and in the four finals in which they all started, they were victorious in each one.
It’s difficult to explain just how much of a difference Casemiro is going to make for United in the middle of the park but putting his ability on the pitch to the side, it’s becoming increasingly clear that his presence alone will raise the standards.
His team-mates describe him as a positive influence on those around him and that’s exactly what United will need. Additionally, he’s an out-and-out serial winner – something United are lacking.
He might not have been the prime target when Ten Hag’s options were being lined up at the start of this summer but he joins with an incredible pedigree and will make a sizeable difference.