Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti paid an emotional tribute to ‘legend’ Casemiro following the Spanish giants’ 2-0 pre-season victory over Manchester United in America.

It was a meeting of old masters and young students in Houston, Texas; Casemiro going head-to-head with Jude Bellingham. Luka Modric squaring up to Mason Mount. And Dani Carvajal stretching his aching hamstrings against the jet-heeled Alejandro Garnacho.

There was to be no triumph over his old employers for one of the most decorated footballers of the modern era, however. Casemiro finding himself on the losing side as Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United outfit suffered their first defeat of pre-season thanks to Bellingham’s glorious early chip and Joselu’s equally-sumptuous volley in the final stages.

Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander
Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid beat Man United in America

“We played well and we defended well,” Ancelotti tells the Real Madrid website. “The second half was more controlled, with a good approach and commitment.

“Our team has a lot of physical and technical quality. The squad is very good and has improved with the new additions. We’re complete.”

You cannot quite say the same of Ten Hag’s United.

Despite the additions of Mason Mount and Andre Onana – who immediately looked a substantial upgrade on David de Gea with regards to his distribution – the Red Devils are still a team very much in progress.

Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat was another game in which United were left to rue their lack of a clinical centre-forward; promising openings going a-begging. At least, with a £75,000-a-week contract reportedly agreed with Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund, that should change soon.

And with players of the talent, mentality and quality of Casemiro at Ten Hag’s disposal already, United may only be a few well-placed additions away from going head-to-head with teams like Real Madrid and coming out on top.

“We really love him,” Ancelotti said of Casemiro at full-time. “And he’s a Real Madrid legend to us.”

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