Casemiro bid a tearful farewell to Real Madrid as he gets ready to finalise a transfer to Manchester United in the coming days.
After a seven-year stint at the Bernabeu during which he won numerous trophies, the Brazilian has agreed to a massive move to Old Trafford that could be worth £70 million after add-ons.
After confirming the transfer, Real sent Casemiro a classy message, which the midfielder has now returned.
“When my wife and I arrived here, I didn’t know anyone,” Casemiro told a farewell conference as he fought to overcome a flood of tears. “We were going to a new country, to a club where many people didn’t know us…and we have built our life here. Our family.
“I dreamed of being able to play here when I left Sao Paulo. I was clear that I wanted to play in the first team. But before that, I had to play for the Castilla. It was a great journey because I learned values in the academy which is the most beautiful thing about this club. The future is the academy.
“What I learned here makes me strong enough to continue at a great club like Manchester United. Thank you, Mr President. With you leading, this club will have a bright future and will continue to win. Hala Madrid.”
He added: “I will try to speak from the heart. I have won many titles but the greatest thing was being able to come to training every day. Thank God for the titles, but with the help of my family, my wife – who has given me two beautiful children – the president… thank you all very much.
“Thanks to my teammates, without them this would not have been possible. But I cannot leave without talking about two: [Luka] Modric and [Toni] Kroos. I have enjoyed playing football with them a lot.
“One day I will surely return to continue helping this club.”
The emotion was shared by president Florentino Perez, who admitted he did not think he would ever be saying goodbye to Casemiro.
“The myth of Real Madrid is achieved with special footballers who are capable of creating legends. Casemiro is one of out great references, who has led us to the conquest of five Champions Leagues, among many other titles,” Perez said.
“I remember the boy who arrived at the Castilla at 20 years old, and I remember your extraordinary 20 minutes in Dortmund. You came with determination to leave your soul to succeed at Real Madrid. I never thought that this day could come.
“We are all proud because you have given everything and you have fought in each match as if it were the last of your days. Thank you for being there and acting like a father to the youngsters. You have been an example of commitment and values. You are an example of work and sacrifice. The fans feel affection towards you because you have given everything.
“It is not easy to put an end to the cycle you have completed. You are a source of pride for me, as president, and also for the fans.”