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May 28, 2022 at 8.36pm UK at Stade Auguste Delaune
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Liverpool vs. Real Madrid player duels: Fabinho or Casemiro?

Ahead of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, the Sports Mole team discuss who is the better midfielder - Fabinho or Casemiro.

Some of the world's best players will be on show in Paris on Saturday as Liverpool and Real Madrid go head to head in the biggest club game in football - the Champions League final.

It is the third time the two famous clubs have met in a European Cup final - a record for a single fixture - with the past two split one apiece, Liverpool winning in Paris in 1981 before Real Madrid lifted the trophy in 2018.

Ahead of the blockbuster fixture between two of Europe's most decorated teams, the Sports Mole team have compared every player likely to start the match for both sides in Paris.

Here, we discuss whether Liverpool's Fabinho or Real Madrid's Casemiro is the better holding midfielder.

Real Madrid's Casemiro celebrates after winning LaLiga in April 2022© Reuters

Barney Corkhill, Editor

VERDICT: Casemiro

This is a close one between two Brazil teammates who both play a vital, if slightly less glamorous, role in their respective teams.

Fabinho has established himself as one of Liverpool's most important players, and a welcome goal return of eight from a holding midfield role this season is a big tick in his column.

However, after much agonising, I have gone for Casemiro by the smallest of margins here. The Real Madrid man may not get as many goals as Fabinho, but in terms of building attacks and creating chances, he comes out on top in this duel.

Casemiro boasts more assists, has more shots and completes more passes than his compatriot, and it is the type of passes in that latter statistic which just about give him the edge.

The 29-year-old supplies far more through-balls, progressive passes and switches of play than Fabinho, while he has played 82 passes leading directly to a shot this season compared to 58 for Fabinho.

On top of that, Casemiro has also made more tackles - with a higher success rate - successful presses, blocks, interceptions and clearances than Fabinho this season.

The Madrid linchpin has also had more touches, dribbles and carries this term, and such completeness narrowly gives him the edge in this very competitive head to head.

Liverpool's Fabinho applauds fans after the match on September 18, 2021© Reuters

Matt Law, Football Editor

VERDICT: Fabinho

Both masters in central midfield, two of the best holding players in world football will be on display in Paris. Fabinho will believe that he is the outstanding defensive midfielder in the game, but Casemiro will have the same view on himself.

Fabinho is, arguably, the superior player in terms of passing and ability to contribute further forward, having scored eight times in all competitions this season, but Casemiro is so important behind Modric and Kroos in the Real Madrid midfield due to his understanding of the game.

This is an incredibly tough category, and strong cases can be made for both, but I just believe that Fabinho is ahead here when taking everything into consideration.

Real Madrid's Casemiro during the warm up before the match in May 2022© Reuters

Ben Knapton, Senior Reporter

VERDICT: Casemiro

Lots of yo-yoing with this one. Fabinho being fit for the Champions League final is a boost of mammoth proportions for Liverpool, and the Brazilian has been partial to a goal or two this term as well – striking eight in total.

His compatriot's absence during the first leg with Man City was certainly felt, but Casemiro's return to the engine room at the Bernabeu was welcomed with open arms in their stellar turnaround.

In my opinion, there is barely anything to separate these two South American superstars, but with four Champions League trophies to his name already, Casemiro just edges it.


Casemiro celebrates for Real Madrid in April 2022© Reuters

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