Makelele lauds Casemiro impact

Top 5 Strikers in the 2018/19 Bundesliga season

Former Real Madrid defensive midfielder Claude Makelele says Casemiro is the first player to 'replace' him at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 1998 World Cup winner joined Los Blancos in 2003, where he won the UEFA Champions League and the Spanish domestic title before being sold to Chelsea in 2006.

His controversial departure coincided with a three-year trophy drought at Real, but with Casemiro's recent influence, the Frenchman believes a world-class defensive midfielder is what separated the Spanish giants from on-field success.

"Casemiro's playing very well," the Swansea assistant coach told Marca. "Before the [2016] Champions League Final in Milan, I spoke to him in the dressing room.

"He knows the position he plays in very well and makes it look easy, with quality and hard work. He reminds me of myself. Some people thought I just used to run, but technically you have to know where and how to play.

"Casemiro's very smart and always well-positioned. He can score goals too because he can go forward. I couldn't with the players we had up top!

"It seems that now, Real Madrid appreciate the dirty work of a midfielder more than my time there. For Casemiro, the most important thing is that his team-mates recognise the importance of his work. That's his trophy."