Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro says any club would miss a player of Cristiano Ronaldo’s quality – but says that is no excuse for their 4-2 AET defeat to city rivals Atletico in the UEFA Super Cup.
Ronaldo left for Juventus this summer after nine spectacular years at the club, who appeared to miss his driving influence heavily in their first match without him – and their first match under new boss Julen Lopetegui.
But Casemiro – who limped off after 79 minutes with a suspected recurring injury – wasn’t having any excuses, telling SPORT:
“We’re hurt to lose a trophy but this is the start of the season. We have full confidence in our coach. At Real Madrid, we don’t make excuses. Here, when we win, everyone wins and when we lose, we all lose.
“Cristiano has shown here that he’s the best in the world but that’s in the past now, we can’t keep thinking about him. We need to talk about those who are in the squad, the ones who stayed. We want to be a stronger, more solid team but Cristiano is in the past.
“This isn’t a bad squad. Some very important players, who have won everything, aren’t here but I’m not going to say whether the squad is better or worse for that.
“If we’d won 2-1, we’d be talking about things in a different way. We did a lot of good things, we need to focus on that and work, work, work for what comes next.”
It was an unfamiliar feeling for the Galacticos on Thursday night, as after winning four of the last five Champions Leagues, and three of the last four UEFA Super Cups, they tasted a rare cup final defeat.
They led 2-1 with 11 minutes remaining, but Diego Costa added his second in normal time, before extra time goals from Saul and Koke secured the trophy – and the bragging rights for Atletico, and highlighted just the size of the job new Real boss Julen Lopetegui has on his hands.