With Real Madrid reportedly eyeing Eduardo Camavinga, could the Rennes midfielder prove a fine deputy to Casemiro?

Camavinga, 17, is said to have attracted interest from Europe's biggest clubs, including Madrid.

Marca reported on Sunday that the teenage midfielder was a preference for Madrid as coach Zinedine Zidane wants to avoid being too reliant on 28-year-old Casemiro.

Camavinga would surely not be expected to match Casemiro immediately, but rather provide Zidane with a back-up option while learning from the 46-time Brazil international.

Using Opta data, we take a look at how Camavinga and Casemiro compare in Ligue 1 and LaLiga respectively this season.

 

Casemiro busy for busier Madrid

Casemiro and Camavinga have each made 25 league appearances this season, although the former has played 108 more minutes.

Yet, while Camavinga narrowly edges Casemiro for passing accuracy (87.7 to 83.8), including more notably in the opposition half (83.3 to 78.8), the Madridista has played 1,521 passes to the Angola-born midfielder's 975. That includes making 379 into the final third, compared to Camavinga's 141. Those numbers must also be put into perspective with Madrid averaging 58.2 per cent possession in LaLiga this season, while third-placed Rennes have averaged 49.7 per cent in Ligue 1.

More to come from Camavinga in attack

Goals from midfield are a bonus and Casemiro has struck three times in the league for Real Madrid this season, while Camavinga has netted once for a less prolific Rennes. Casemiro has also taken more shots (26 to 10) and had more 'big chances' (four to one), while creating two to Camavinga's one. Both players have provided two assists in the league this season.

Plenty for Rennes' teenage star to learn

Casemiro is widely regarded as one of the world's best midfielders, and Camavinga could learn plenty from the Brazilian. Casemiro has 218 recoveries in the league this season to Camavinga's 147, but Rennes man has a slight edge in duel success (57.5 to 55.7). Camavinga has won more tackles (64 to 55), Casemiro has a better success rate (66.3 to 61) and more interceptions (53 to 44), while neither has made an error leading to a shot this season. At 17, Camavinga is supremely talented, and he could thrive given the chance to develop alongside Casemiro.

Casemiro admitted Real Madrid's loss to Real Betis could cost them the LaLiga title.

Madrid were stunned in a 2-1 defeat on Sunday, leaving them second to rivals Barcelona in the table with 11 matches remaining.

Casemiro said it could be the result that denies Madrid, who are two points adrift of Barca, the league title.

"They were superior and played better, there is no excuse, football is simple," the midfielder said, via the club's website.

"In LaLiga every game is difficult. To win LaLiga we have to play well in every game and we didn't play well.

"We have to keep working hard, we have not been up to the task and we have not played like we did against Barcelona.

"We are human too, but it could cost us the league title. We have to look at Eibar now."

While Karim Benzema's penalty cancelled out Sidnei's opener in the first half, Cristian Tello scored an 82nd-minute winner for Betis.

Madrid defender Raphael Varane urged his team to continue fighting late in the campaign.

"We lacked a lot of intensity, especially in the first half. We didn't play at the pace we wanted to and we let the opponents have the ball," he said.

"We're dropping important points, but we're confident we can fight until the end.

"We're trying very hard to get back to the top of the league and today was a drop in quality from everyone.

"We still have a lot of games left to play and we're confident we're going to get that intensity back."

Casemiro pinpointed a drop in intensity as the reason for Real Madrid's 2-1 Champions League loss to Manchester City – but remains confident they can still overturn the first-leg deficit.

Madrid appeared on course to take an advantage to the Etihad Stadium when Isco put them ahead on the hour mark at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

However, Gabriel Jesus' header levelled matters for City before Kevin De Bruyne completed the turnaround from the penalty spot.

Sergio Ramos was sent off four minutes from the end of normal time, meaning Madrid will be without their captain for a return leg on March 17 in which they will need to score at least twice to progress.

Midfielder Casemiro is optimistic Madrid can still achieve that difficult task, having pinpointed exactly where they went wrong on home turf.

"The explanation is obvious," he told Movistar

"We did 75 minutes really well and then we didn't have any intensity, we lost control of the game, we sat back and they are a great rival, they attacked twice and scored.

"There's no excuse. At the weekend we've got a tough game against Barcelona. We need to start thinking about that."

On the second leg, he added: "If there's one team capable to turning this around it's Real Madrid.

"But I think what's important is that we played really well for 75 minutes, against a great side, and for 15 minutes we didn't do what we had to. And they came back to win.

"It's not over, but there's a lot of work ahead."

Zinedine Zidane believes it was the right decision to rule out a Luuk de Jong goal in Real Madrid's 2-1 victory over Sevilla on Saturday.

Madrid moved top of LaLiga as two goals from Casemiro secured all three points at the Santiago Bernabeu, despite De Jong having briefly made it 1-1 in the second half.

The striker thought he had given Sevilla the lead half an hour in, but his header was disallowed following a VAR check, with referee Juan Martinez Munuera instead penalising Nemanja Gudelj for blocking Eder Militao in the build-up.

Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui was aghast at the decision and director of football Monchi claimed he would have taken the team off the pitch had they seen a goal disallowed for a second time when VAR was used to check a possible handball by Munir El Haddadi.

Zidane, though, sees little reason to feel the decisions changed the game.

"What I can say is that I saw the incident and it's a block, there's a foul, the referee saw it on VAR, and he gave the foul," the Madrid boss told reporters.

"For the second, there's a hand, he doesn't give it. I can't explain anything, and I never get into evaluating these things. It's for the referee to decide.

"Sometimes these things go against you and sometimes in your favour. It's a difficult job. It's for them to decide.

"For me, there's a block, it's a foul and it's really normal."

When asked about Monchi's comments, Zidane replied: "I don't think the referee was that decisive. He did what he had to do.

"There's a hand for their goal, but that wasn't given. What can I say? I'm not going to get into it.

"It's a complicated game for everyone. We played against a good team, but the result is logical for what happened on the pitch.

"What he said is his responsibility. It's not for me to say anything. In the end, it's the referee who decides.

"What he said seems a little strong to me, but I'm not going to prevent the Sevilla sporting director from speaking."

Zidane went on to praise the performance of Casemiro, who proved Madrid's unlikely hero by scoring twice in the same game for the first time in his career with the club.

"Good, because in the end he got two goals and that's not usual," he said of Casemiro's performance. "I'm happy for him. We can make the difference in attack with any player."

If Real Madrid end the season as LaLiga champions, they may well look back on this win over Sevilla – and the performance of Casemiro – as a defining moment.

This was a game that had the hallmarks of a setback for Zinedine Zidane. Okay, Madrid had beaten Sevilla in 10 consecutive league games in the capital going into this meeting, but Julen Lopetegui has created an obstinacy about the Andalusians that had restricted them to just three away defeats in all competitions this term.

Consider, too, that Madrid went to penalties in the Supercopa de Espana final six days ago before the long flight back from Jeddah. They also started this game without a sizeable host of first-team stars: captain Sergio Ramos was out with a sprained ankle, Eden Hazard, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale were not in the squad, Federico Valverde was banned and Karim Benzema only able to start on the bench.

Still, one thing about the modern Madrid is that they generally perform to a far higher standard when Casemiro is on the pitch, so maybe this kind of match-winning display was bound to happen eventually. Few would have seen this coming, though.

Zidane has made Madrid extremely tough to score against in recent weeks. They had kept five clean sheets in nine games before Sevilla's visit and conceded only 12 goals in LaLiga all season, a record only matched by, of course, Atletico Madrid.

But they found themselves in trouble on Saturday. Without Ramos to dictate terms from the back, Sevilla's high press had them worried; with a depleted attack, chances of their own were scarce. Luuk de Jong thought he had buried the opening goal just before the half-hour mark only for VAR to intervene and penalise Nemanja Gudelj for blocking Eder Militao.

Amid the uncertainty of their wider display, Casemiro was doing as expected. He made five tackles and won possession 11 times in the match, more than any other player on the pitch, and only Diego Carlos bettered his tally of two interceptions.

Then came the surprise. With 57 minutes gone, Luka Jovic played an inspired backheel into Casemiro's path, he muscled his way through the Sevilla box and chipped an impudent effort beyond Tomas Vaclik. It was a striker's finish, oozing calm and precision – two qualities not always associated with one of Madrid's more ebullient characters.

Twelve minutes later, it happened again.

De Jong had equalised with a finish of the highest quality – a rare incident this season. Five minutes on, Lucas Vazquez sent in a cross and the unmarked Casemiro rose highest and nodded home his second goal of the game. Even rarer.

Casemiro had never scored twice in a Madrid match before and he cannot have ended many games with no team-mate having attempted more shots. Indeed, he could have had a hat-trick but for a miscued effort in the closing stages.

Casemiro is hardly an unsung hero at the Santiago Bernabeu, but this was a rescue act in a very different guise, his impact in the opponent's box even more important than his tigerish efforts in defending his own.

It means Madrid are unbeaten in 17 games in all competitions and return to the top of the table ahead of Barcelona's game against Granada on Sunday. With their form showing few signs of dipping and with stars aplenty to return, this might prove to be Casemiro's most decisive performance yet.

Casemiro offered no excuses for Real Madrid's 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain, admitting his team were below their best on Wednesday.

A brace from Angel Di Maria and a late Thomas Meunier goal saw PSG to their comfortable victory in the Group A clash at Parc des Princes.

While Madrid had two goals ruled out, they failed to record a single shot on target in a Champions League game for the first time since Opta started collecting the data in 2003-04.

Casemiro said there was still time for Madrid to recover, but the midfielder lamented a below-par performance.

"We have not played well, they [PSG] have had control of the game and we know that it is difficult to play here," he told Movistar.

"They are very strong, they have great players. There are no excuses, we have not played well, but there is still time for many things, to keep working.

"There are many things ahead."

Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema had efforts chalked off for Madrid, who were left bottom of a group that also includes Club Brugge and Galatasaray.

Casemiro felt Zinedine Zidane's side needed to produce close to a perfect display to have any chance, despite the Ligue 1 champions being without Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

"We always try to be aggressive, but of course when the result is 3-0 we know that things are more noticeable," he said.

"We know that if we don't make an almost perfect match here, you don't win. There's a lot of time to change this."

Madrid get a chance to respond when they make the trip to Sevilla in LaLiga on Sunday.

Casemiro has told Real Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior to start thinking about the Ballon d'Or and other major prizes after making his Brazil debut.

Vinicius made his first appearance for the Selecao in Tuesday's underwhelming 1-0 defeat to Peru, Brazil's first loss since last year's World Cup.

The 19-year-old has started 10 LaLiga matches across the past two seasons, too, and Casemiro believes he needs to be aiming high.

"Vinicius has a very good head and, in the past year, he has surprised many people with the football he played," the midfielder told reporters.

"It is not normal for a 19-year-old boy to do what he did with the Real Madrid shirt. I told him the other day that this year is a year that he has to start thinking big.

"I repeat: what he did last year was not normal. He surprised everyone and showed that he is ready to be a starter at Real Madrid.

"When you are a starting Real Madrid player, you have to think big. Think of the Ballon d'Or, FIFA's World XI. He is a great player and he has already proven it.

"Of course, he is very young, you cannot put too much pressure and weight on his back. But I think he has to start thinking big.

"It is very important for us that he is here with the national team, but we have to be calm; two years ago he was playing in the Flamengo youth team."

Brazil coach Tite admitted Neymar's performance in the 2-2 draw with Colombia surprised him as he revealed he has a "relationship of truth and loyalty" with the unsettled forward.

After a move from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona failed to materialise in the transfer window, fit-again Neymar played for the first time in three months in Brazil's friendly at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami.

He made an impact 19 minutes into the game when his corner teed up Casemiro to give Brazil the lead and, though Colombia turned the game on its head with two goals in nine first-half minutes, Neymar side-footed an equaliser into the net after the break.

Tite said he considered substituting the 27-year-old but instead allowed him to play the full 90 minutes, having been impressed with Neymar's display.

"I said, 'I'll take him off' for the sake of physical preservation," Tite told reporters after the game.

"But I saw that his physical responses were strong, intense, and coordinated. I could see him growing.

"As the end of the game approached he produced more and more. He keeps his technique light and creates space. He was above my expectation."

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has yet to include Neymar in any of his four matchday squads in Ligue 1 this season, but Tite gave a glowing assessment of the forward's condition.

"We talked yesterday about monitoring the performance of Neymar from 45 minutes," he said. "A player starts thinking and cannot perform [when fatigued]. But he was thinking and performing. It surprised me."

After scoring Brazil's second goal, Neymar wrapped his arms around the Brazil coach, who said the pair enjoy a strong working relationship at a time when the forward's career is in a tumultuous phase.

"It is a reaction of true loyalty," said Tite. "We have a relationship of truth and loyalty. We say what we think is right, what is wrong.

"It is a transparent relationship. I don't analyse other facts, other situations. But I can say that we have a real relationship."

Dani Alves described playing with Neymar as a joyous experience after the Brazil star scored on his long-awaited return to the pitch.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward set aside three months of injury issues and transfer speculation as he made his first appearance of the season in the Selecao's 2-2 friendly draw against Colombia in Florida on Friday.

Though relatively quiet in the first half, he delivered the corner from which Casemiro opened the scoring and later preserved his side's unbeaten streak by side-footing home in the 58th minute.

Luis Muriel scored a brace in between for Colombia, but Neymar's influential outing grabbed attention in the wake of his failed move back to Barcelona.

"It's always a joy to have Ney doing what he knows best, enjoying himself and doing his best for the national team," the experienced Alves told Globo.

"We have affection for him and when he is focused his level is very high.

"Let's let him do what he can do, which is to play football. We're here to help him."

The warmth with which Brazil's players greeted Neymar's return was not shared by Colombia, who fouled the PSG star four times.

One notable shove from Davinson Sanchez ended with the 27-year-old Neymar flying into the advertising board.

Goalscorer and Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, recipient of the game's only yellow card for a first-half tackle on striker Muriel, was unimpressed with the opposition's approach.

"Guys come to play against Brazil and want to intimidate, putting their hands on us, talking, wanting to hit us," Casemiro said.

"You have to win on the ball. They have their tactics and we have ours. When it comes to Brazil there are no friendlies.

"Teams are always strong against us, so we have to play hard.

"I took the yellow [for the challenge on Muriel] and I apologised."

Neymar scored and set up another as the Brazil star made his long-awaited return in the South American champions' 2-2 friendly draw with Colombia.

An ankle injury had sidelined Neymar since June and forced the Paris Saint-Germain forward to miss Brazil's successful Copa America campaign as he eyed a return to Barcelona.

Neymar – who was unable to engineer a Barca comeback – made his first appearance of the season for either club or country in Miami on Friday, setting up Casemiro's opener before equalising in the 58th minute.

Luis Muriel's first-half brace cancelled out Casemiro's 19th-minute goal but Neymar came to the rescue 13 minutes into the second half as Tite's men extended their unbeaten run.

While Brazil welcomed back Neymar, Colombia were without star duo James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao – who joined Turkish giants Fenerbahce prior to the transfer deadline – due to injury.

But Colombia made a lively start and were the better of the two teams as Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina came close to opening the scoring.

Neymar was relatively subdued in the first half however he provided the cross from a corner for Casemiro to head Brazil into a 19th-minute lead – the Real Madrid midfielder rising highest to beat David Ospina.

Brazil's lead was short-lived as Colombia equalised five minutes later through Muriel, who converted a penalty after being struck by Alex Sandro's high boot.

Richarlison had a good chance to restore Brazil's advantage but the Everton star's curling effort went just wide of the far post approaching the half-hour mark.

Colombia found the back of the net in the 30th minute but it was ruled out for offside, though it mattered little as Muriel struck four minutes later.

A great break from Roger Martinez saw Duvan Zapata receive the ball and play it out wide to Muriel, who fired past Brazil goalkeeper Ederson, before Ospina preserved Colombia's buffer by rushing out to thwart Richarlison.

Brazil returned to the pitch with renewed optimism and almost restored parity seven minutes into the second half but Philippe Coutinho's effort flashed just wide of the post following a terrific piece of skill to control the ball.

Coutinho was at the heart of the Selecao's 58th-minute equaliser after the Bayern Munich loanee picked out Dani Alves with a stunning pass from the half-way line as the latter squared a ball across the six-yard box for Neymar to side-foot into an empty net.

 

What does it mean? Brazil stay unbeaten

Tite's Brazil were not at their brilliant best, but they did enough to make it 17 matches without defeat. It is a streak dating back to the nation's 2018 World Cup elimination at the hands of Belgium.

Neymar fit and closing in on record

After months of speculation and fitness issues, Neymar returned to the field and he was influential in the draw. The 27-year-old scored his 61st goal in 98 international appearances – moving within one of second-placed Ronaldinho as Pele (77) continues to hold Brazil's record.

Muriel stakes his claim in Falcao's absence

Muriel had only managed three international goals for Colombia, dating back to his first in February 2013. However, the 28-year-old almost doubled that tally against Brazil. After scoring a brace in Atalanta's Serie A opener on August 27, Muriel is emerging as a key player for club and country.

What's next?

Brazil will face Peru in a rematch of the Copa America final on Tuesday, while Colombia meet Venezuela on the same day.

Casemiro was unequivocal in his assessment of Real Madrid's 2-2 LaLiga draw at Villarreal, surmising they were "lacking everything" at Estadio de la Ceramica.

Madrid twice had to come from behind on Sunday, with Gareth Bale's efforts cancelling out strikes from Gerard Moreno and then Moi Gomez, before the Wales star was sent off for two bookings in as many stoppage-time minutes.

Despite Bale salvaging Madrid a point away from home, Casemiro was scathing of the team's performance, convinced they underwhelmed all over the pitch.

"We are lacking everything," he said. "We have to score goals and be better defensively. This is a team. If we defend, we all defend. If we attack, we all attack. This is the spirit.

"Real Madrid ore obliged to win always, this jersey makes it an obligation. This is a complicated stadium. We had control for 65 minutes, but they got into it and scored.

"This is the way forward, we keep adding points. The international break is here and we can change our mindset. We have to keep working.

"[Fan frustration] is normal, but they have to see the work we do. We have to keep working to get as far as we can in LaLiga."

Madrid return to LaLiga action after the international break against Levante on September 14.

Casemiro would love Brazil to thrash Peru again in Sunday's Copa America final – but admits it is almost certain not to happen.

The Real Madrid midfielder opened the scoring at Arena Corinthians as Tite's side demolished Peru in their final group game of this year's tournament.

The victory was Brazil's 31st in 44 meetings with Peru in all competitions and extended their record against them on home soil to 13 wins in 17. Indeed, Ricardo Gareca's side have not even managed a goal in their most recent four away games against the Selecao.

That said, Peru were the last team to defeat Brazil in the Copa America in their own country, way back in the semi-finals of 1975, when they prevailed 3-1.

And Casemiro, a winner of two trophies with the Brazil Under-20s but yet to find success with the senior team, is eager not to underestimate their opponents, who defeated Chile 3-0 in the last four.

"I've played in other finals; I think it's the first with Brazil," he said, as per Globoesporte. "Finals aren't played – finals are won. And we're working towards a win, although with a lot of respect towards our opponents.

"They knocked out two big teams, Uruguay and Chile – we can't forget that. They have the respect of all of us players.

"We shouldn't expect a thrashing. I hope it's like that, but we know it won't be."

Peru's Chamber of Tourism expects 30,000 people to travel for the final in Rio de Janeiro, even though only 5,000 are expected inside the Maracana.

Big screens will also televise the game back at home as Peru go in search of their first continental triumph since 1975, which was also the last time they reached this stage.

Edison Flores is expected to be fully fit after an injury scare but it is Paolo Guerrero who it will be hoped can lead his side to glory on what will represent his 100th cap.

"I respect Brazil very much. I'm happy to face a final against Brazil, a country for which I have a lot of respect," he told Sport TV.

"They'll give all their effort for the cup, so it'll be a very difficult, very tough game."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brazil – Roberto Firmino

The Liverpool striker has had a hand in more goals (five) than any other player at the Copa America. Given he got a goal and an assist in the previous meeting with Peru, he will have every reason to feel confident ahead of the final.

Peru – Paolo Guerrero

Captain and soon-to-be centurion of the Peru national team, Guerrero will be a rallying point for his team when under pressure and will need to make the most of whatever scoring opportunities come his way. It should be quite the occasion for the 35-year-old.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Three of Peru's four wins against Brazil in all competitions have come in Copa America tournaments: 1-0 in 1953, 3-1 in 1975 and 1-0 in 2016.
- Brazil have won the Copa America on each of the previous four occasions they have hosted the tournament (1919, 1922, 1949 and 1989); they will be looking to lift the trophy for the ninth time, after winning four of the previous eight Copa America tournaments (1997, 1999, 2004 and 2007).
- Peru are the eighth CONMEBOL nation to reach the Copa America final with the current competition format (since 1993); only Venezuela and Ecuador have not managed to reach this stage since then.
- Brazil and Peru will play the first Copa America final in which both teams have kept a clean sheet in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals; indeed, Brazil are yet to concede a goal in this year's tournament.
- Brazil have the highest possession average (66.5 per cent) and passing accuracy (88.8 per cent) in the 2019 Copa America; they also have the most shots attempted (88) and on target (26), and they have faced the joint fewest shots on target (7, level with Uruguay) in this year's tournament.
- If Paolo Guerrero plays against Brazil, he will earn his 25th Copa America cap, the joint most for a Peruvian player in the competition, level with Cornelio Heredia.

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