Casemiro could not hold back the tears after being sent off during Manchester United’s goalless draw with Southampton at the weekend. The Brazilian midfielder was visibly upset as he walked off the pitch, knowing he was once again facing a spell on the sidelines through suspension – having only just returned from his last ban.
The Reds ace was given his marching orders for a challenge on Southampton’s Carlos Alcaraz in the first half of the clash at Old Trafford on Sunday. Casemiro lunged for a loose ball with his studs up, accidentally catching the opposition man on the front of his shin.
Referee Anthony Taylor initially brandished a yellow card, but he was advised by the VAR to review the tackle on the pitchside monitor, and he subsequently changed his decision as he sent the United midfielder off. As he was shown the red card, Casemiro bowed his head and was consoled by his teammates.
He trudged off the field, having been sent off at Old Trafford for the second time in a little over a month. The 31-year-old was also dismissed during United’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in February. As a result, the former Real Madrid man will be banned for four matches – missing league games against Newcastle, Everton and Brentford, plus next week’s FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham.
Casemiro has made a fantastic start to life under Erik ten Hag, but his dismissal comes as a major blow to the Reds. The midfield enforcer, despite being know for his tough-tackling style of play, had never received a straight red card prior to joining United.
However, he now has as many red cards in the Premier League (2) as he did during his entire time playing in La Liga and for Porto before that.
Given that Casemiro has received 138 cautions in his career, he is no stranger to seeing a yellow card. He has, however, been able to manage games and adapt his play style after being booked. His emotional reaction to being sent off came as somewhat of a surprise to some people, but the midfielder – by his own admission – never intends to hurt his opponents, which is why he was so upset by the unfortunate challenge at the weekend.
Speaking to Revista Panenka in February 2022, while playing for Madrid, Casemiro said: “The referee, the fans, I think the key to all of this is that they also see there is no malice. I always try to get the ball, I always go strong because that is who I am. I like the intensity that I play with, but there is no malice, I have never gone with studs to hurt a player.
“If someone is going to hurt a player, I get angry because that is not football. In football you can foul, fouls are part of the game. But never with malice. And I think it comes from my values which my mother taught me. And I am never going to hurt a player.
“I am never going to insult a player, I am never going to do anything wrong. Of course, being on the field you can stir up a player, that is normal and it will always happen because each one defends their badge. But my values that my mother taught me is never to hurt anyone.
United ultimately decided against appealing Casemiro’s red card in the 0-0 draw with Southampton, and while the club concluded there was not a high chance of being able to overturn the ban on appeal, Ten Hag made clear his frustration with what he felt was a harsh decision.
Playing hard, but fair, is a matter of principle to the Brazilian. He never tackles with malice, and he would say exactly that about Sunday’s incident.
There is a reason why Casemiro was never sent off during his time in La Liga – a league which has, for reference, seen over 100 red cards so far this season. He is not a player who ever intends to hurt an opponent, and his emotional reaction at the weekend proves he meant what he said last year.