Liverpool midfielder Fabinho insists he has a good relationship with Manchester United ace Casemiro despite their rivalry for the Brazil team.
Fabinho, 29, has been with the Reds since the summer of 2018 and made 191 appearances in all competitions. Casemiro, a year old, is a newer recruit to the English game, having moved to Old Trafford from Real Madrid in August. The tough-tackling schemer took time to find his feet but is now making an impression for the Red Devils.
Fabinho and Casemiro are part of the Brazil side set to battle for the World Cup in Qatar. And they are direct rivals for the holding midfield berth in Tite’s Selecao team.
Casemiro has generally won that particular duel, with 65 international caps to his name following his 2011 debut.
Fabinho earned his first cap in 2015 and has gone on to get the nod 28 times.
It remains to be seen which of the two stars is selected for the upcoming Middle East showpiece.
But, having briefly played with Casemiro while the duo were on the Real Madrid books, Fabinho is clearly comfortable with his compatriot.
“I remember when Casao arrived at Real Madrid Castilla, at that time there was only Spanish in the team,” he told GE Globo.
“You get along well with the guys, they were all good people, boys of similar age, but when there’s a Brazilian on the team, it’s different, right?
“You automatically get closer to the guy; and you start to have daily reviews.
“Despite being someone who disputes position with me, it can be said that our relationship is good. He’s a guy I’ve had contact with, I talk normally with him.”
Fabinho praise for Man Utd rival
Fabinho has been a regular starter for Jurgen Klopp since his arrival on Merseyside. After a tough start to the current season, he now seems back to somewhere near his best.
The South American is the glue that binds the German’s midfield together, allowing the array of attacking talent to do their stuff.
He has started 11 times among 14 top-flight appearances in 2022-2023. Casemiro is expected to have a similar impact during his stint at the Theatre of Dreams.
The ex-Sao Paulo star scored his first goal for United in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on October 22. He has now started six times in the league and five times in the Champions League.
Fabinho confessed that he has been in contact with his fellow Brazilian since his switch to England. And the Anfield ace feels his Brazil rival is proving his worth under Erik ten Hag.
“Now that he’s come to England, I’ve talked to him at the national team,” he added. “I asked him how the adaptation was going, leaving a club where he spent nine years.
“Casao is an experienced guy, he was very successful at Real Madrid, he is doing well at Manchester United.
“Despite being a guy with whom I compete for position, I get along very well, because I’ve played with him, and I know him well.”
Many Premier League stars vying for Brazil spot
Fabinho and Casemiro are not the only midfielders in the Canarinha squad familiar to fans of the Premier League.
United’s Fred, Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United and West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta are also on board for the global event.
Liverpool goalkeeper Allison and Manchester City shot-stopper Ederson will also be in Qatar.
Chelsea veteran Thiago Silva, United forward Antony, Arsenal pair Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli plus Tottenham’s Richarlison complete the England-based contingent for Tite.
There are many battles ahead but it seems as though the one for the holding midfield berth is purely on the pitch.