During a goodbye press conference on Monday morning, Manchester United new boy Casemiro sobbed as he bid farewell to Real Madrid after nine years with the club.
The Brazil international will now go to Manchester to complete his £59.5 million move to the Red Devils, where he will be paraded in front of the Old Trafford faithful before kick-off in Monday night’s huge battle with Liverpool.
Casemiro originally arrived at the Bernabeu in 2013, after an excellent season on loan at Porto, and has since helped Real win five Champions League titles.
While Carlo Ancelotti was desperate to keep the 30-year-old, Real Madrid have a plethora of superb central midfielders and, considering his service to the club, elected not to stand in Casemiro’s way when United approached.
At a press conference held at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training site, the Brazilian was given the opportunity to say his final goodbyes.
When Casemiro came, he shared an emotional embrace with his manager and was wiping away tears with a tissue as he saw an outstanding montage of his time playing for Real Madrid, with his wife also becoming tearful.
Perez lavished praise on Casemiro in a passionate speech, praising the midfielder as one of Real Madrid’s “great leaders” in their five Champions League victories and a “legend” at the club.
When it was his turn to speak, the midfielder burst into tears, hardly able to get his words out before reaching for another tissue and finally composing himself.
‘Good day, everyone. When my wife and I arrived, no one recognized us. It was a brand-new country.
‘I remember being very pleased when I first got the call from Real Madrid. When I left Brazil, I knew I’d play at Castilla, and I was quite excited because I knew I’d learn the ideals of this club.
‘I won a lot of trophies, but the biggest one was when I came here every day to train.’ I’d like to thank everyone, including my mother, wife, this club, and all of the players and teammates.
‘Toni Kroos and Luka Modric… I’ll never forget them! We achieved a lot together. I’m sure I’ll return one day. I want to repay all of the affection that Real Madrid has shown me.
I am excited to develop at a big club like Manchester United. President, thank you a lot. This club will have a great future with you. Hala Madrid!’
Ancelotti could be seen tearing up in the audience as Casemiro spoke, with the midfielder earning a massive round of applause and standing ovation when he was finished before posing for photos.
The Brazilian – who is almost doubling his wages at United – will be reunited with several familiar faces including international team-mate Fred and former Real pals Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Casemiro is set to be given the No.18 shirt at United, which was originally worn by Paul Scholes, and should be registered in time to make his debut against Southampton next Saturday, despite the fact that a visa issue may prevent him from training until Thursday.
United are still reported to be working on bringing in several more new faces before the transfer season closes, with a new bid for another Brazilian, Ajax winger Antony, due to be presented.