Is Casemiro the best defensive midfielder in the world ?

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People talk about Isco and [Gareth] Bale but for me, the most important player would be Casemiro because without him, the team can’t play the same. He is the man who gives balance to Los Blancos and for me, he is fundamental. He isn’t the most technically gifted player but his performance is fundamental. Casemiro gives the team a balance that I don’t think any other player can

Massimiliani Allegri

This is what one of the great tacticians claimed when asked about the most fundamental player in the Real Madrid.And no one can deny the role that Casemiro played in the trophies won by Los Blancos in the last 5 years.

Using the player’s stats ,we will dissect his latest performances and decide if Carlos Casemiro is actually the best defensive midfielder in the world

What is a defensive midfielder ?

A little FYI wouldn’t hurt anybody, so before diving in the player performances we have to be familiar with the role of a defensive midfielder.

By the way you can call it a defensive midfielder, a pivot or a holding midfielder. And i’ll be using the three terms in this article so don’t get too confused

The abilities and roles of the holding midfielders are different from one player to another, one football system to another.It goes from blocking and stopping the opposition from advancing to the danger zone, to linking the defensive parts of a team with its offensive counterparts

Depending on the team’s tactics they are also responsible for holding the ball and recycling possession.

For me there are two types of pivots :

  • The destroyers : The role of those are too break the play of the opposition and stop them from advancing to the final third of the field. The two that stands out in that position now are Casemiro and Kante.
  • Registas : registas are highly technical player that directs the play from the back and are responsible for orchestrating the teams attacks. In this position Sergio busquets and Andrea Pirlo tops the food chain.

As you can see,the defensive midfielders have different roles that depends on their technical abilities and the system they are used into and that is telling a lot about the complexity of their role in any team.

Defensive Midfielders are the Back bone of every football team.

The nominees for best defensive Midfielder

Football is a collective game, therefore, it is hard to judge a player’s performance in a sport where it is certainly influenced by the whole team’s performance.

For the 2020 campaign, Casemiro’s main rivals are non other than N’Golo kante ( I really love this player) the CDM of Chelsea and the 2018 world Cup winner. The other is one of the greatest players in Barcelona’s history Sergio Busquets 2010 word cup winner.

Casemiro, Kante and busquets, Three pivots with three different styles. For that reason it’s extremely hard to judge their performances adequately despite the fact that they play, more or less, in the same position.

Casemiro our main contestant is a fighter, he will put his head in places where players are afraid to put their feet.And his performances make him the third best player in La Liga this year based on the WhoScored rating

La liga players statistiques

Talking numbers

This year Casemiro played 2220 minutes compared to 1800 minutes for sergio “El pulpo ” and 1385 minuted for kante. In thos minutes he scored 3 goals and made 0 assist while busquets scored 2 goals and made 2 assists in the last position we have Ngolo who scored one goal this year.

Kante, Casemiro and busques overall stats

Judging by their offensive inputs, Busquets has more impact on the goals scored by his team compared to the other two and that’s mainly due to the difference in technical ability between him and those two also in Barcelona he plays more like a playmaker meanwhile this role is attributed to Kroos in madrid and to Jorginho in chelsea

In their defensive part of the job, No one come close to Casemiro with a ratio of 3.3 tackles per game followed by Sergio busquets with 2.7 and kante with 2.1.

Intercepting the opposition plays is one of the requirement of the job at hand, and it needs a high understanding of the game and a high level of concentration. Casemiro and Kante average a ratio of 2.1 Interception per game while Sergio Busquets has the lowest of the three players with 1.4 interception.

Defensive stats of the Kante, Busquets and Casemiro

Obviously Casemiro makes more fouls than the two contestants due to his highly physical approach of the game which leads him often to being booked in important games but in the end he keeps himself in check as he has 1 red card in his seven years of professional football.

Every midfielder whether his primary vocation is a defensive or an offensive one should be able to move the ball around and maintain possession so it is only reasonable that we should also compare their passing abilities in he current season

Carlos Casemiro and Sergio Busquets have a total of 2 assists in this temporada compared to zero for N’Golo Kante. Let’s not be harsh on N’Golo he has less games and the offensive power of Chelsea compared to Madrid and Barcelona should explain the difference

Kante, Busquets and casemiro passing stats

A key pass is “the final pass or pass-cum-shot leading to the recipient of the ball having an attempt at goal without scoring.” Kante leads the way in this area with an average of 1.3 KeyP per game followed by 0.9 for Busquets and 0.4 for Casemiro.

The highest pass success percentage is held by the Spanish pivot at 89.4% followed by Casemiro with 83.8% and Kante with 83.2%. In terms of playmaking ability Busquets is on another level compared to not only the two contestants but to the majority of the players in the world as he sets the tempo for the team that dominated the world using a 4-3-3 domination based formation with the legendary Pep Guardiola.


In the last 5 years, Casemiro without a doubt has the more impact on wining trophies for his team as he won Three back to back Champions league. N’golo is a world cup winner so he is held in a great place right now in term of trophies won. On the other hand Busquets with Barcelona are having a little bit of a dry spell with only winning La Liga and getting knocked out of the Champions league for 3 years in horrible years.

Judging players for a one year performance is harsh, Even the best players in the history of the game had had dry runs where they were not feeling it and Busquets is having one of those times.

For me he is without a doubt one of the players that shaped and put the lights on the defensive midfielder role in the history of the game as it was always overlooked by the fans and described as being the Butcher or the machine with the lack if technical abilities among the players

As for smiley N’Golo Kante the recurring injuries hindered his performance in the last year and puts him in some kind of a disadvantage in this comparison. N’Golo with his stamina and good lecture of the game shows great performances whenever he steps in the pitch. With his vivacity and versatility, he changed position with every coach he had and still managed to perform with that big smile we all love.

Carlos Casemiro is without a doubt the best CDM in the world night now, The maturity he has reached under zidane’s guiding made him the backbone of the team, Real Madrid can’t perform without him, his sense of the game and fighting spirit makes him boss the midfield in extremely difficult games.

At the end of the day, I appreciate the three players, I enjoy watching them play and they always deliver a good performance.They should be a role model for the new generation and I am sure they are teaching their movements to the youth in academies So let’s enjoy them together while they last, they are almost at their thirties and corona already denied us a year of watching them


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