'Hala Madrid forever': Casemiro bids emotional farewell to Real

Brazilian midfielder moves to Manchester United after successful nine-year stint in Spain

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Brazilian midfielder Casemiro struggled to contain his emotions as he said adios to Real Madrid following a trophy-filled nine-year stay at the La Liga giants.

Casemiro, 30, has been with Madrid since 2013 and is regarded as one of the world’s best holding midfielders. Madrid’s midfield has been one of the best in the world in recent years with Casemiro playing alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. He helped the club win five Champions League titles and three Spanish leagues, among several other trophies.

It's his track record that attracted United, who have had a horror start to the league campaign after what was an underwhelming build-up to the season in the transfer market.

United manager Erik ten Hag has been desperate to land a defensive midfielder since taking charge at Old Trafford and has settled for Casemiro – in deal worth up to a reported £60 million ($70m) – after failing to sign Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong.

United fans will be desperate to have him in the team as soon as possible, after embarrassing defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

"When I got here, my wife and I knew nobody. We were alone and we built our life story here in this city together," Casemiro said on Monday.

"I arrived at the reserve team and I had to fight my way to the first team. I learnt the values of this club, while working at their academy, to be the purest part of football.

"I have won a lot here but I've always felt that the greatest honour was to come here to work everyday," he added.

He also took to social media and thanked Real fans for their support.

"Hi madridistas! Thank you all very much. All my dreams have come true here. I will miss you. You know that I'm a Madrid fan. Hala Madrid forever!" he said on the club's Twitter account.

An emotional Real Madrid president Florentino Perez lauded Casemiro for all he had done at the club.

"You have been exemplary every single day in all of these years here. You have earned the right to decide your future and we must respect it. You ... leave the image of the champion that you are," Perez said.

"You are going to a friendly club, the legendary Manchester United, but wherever you are you will always be an ambassador of Real Madrid.

"You will always be one of us. When you return one day, we will remember these moments. Thank you, Case, this is and always will be your home."

Updated: August 22, 2022, 12:39 PM
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