Casemiro celebrates after the FA Cup semi-final between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, London, April 2023.

We adored Casemiro using penalties to practise for his Strictly audition

Tension regularly brings out the most peculiar side of the human race.

Such is the perverse nature of our existence that you can put somebody in a sombre setting, like funeral or a bollocking from their line manager, and it almost requires a military operation to suppress the need to burst out laughing.

And, if your first instinct upon seeing a friend succumb to gravity and 10 pints of Madri on a night out is not a karaoke tribute to Nelson Muntz, then we’d strongly advise getting your pulse checked by a local GP.

All of which explains why Casemiro treated a semi-final shoot-out as the perfect opportunity to record his audition tape for this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Manchester United and Brighton had conspired to produce 120 goalless minutes, despite a multitude of chances, and the honour of losing to Manchester City in the final would be decided on spot-kicks.

Having demonstrated his elite mentality by offering to take the first penalty, sending Robert Sanchez to High Barnet as he cooly stuck it in the opposite corner, the Brazil international spent the rest of the time thoroughly enjoying himself.

Hips were gyrated. Arms were moving at enough speed to provide renewable energy to the entire British Isles. And victory created the tantalising prospect of Casemiro having to top his effort if United win the final.

The midfielder has been excellent since joining from Real Madrid last summer, and Owen Hargreaves has come down from the fence to claim Casemiro should be named as United’s Player of the Season.

“Marcus [Rashford] has taken the headlines but I think if you look at Casemiro, the team is so different when he’s not playing, just in every phase,” Hargreaves told Manutd.com.

“It affects David De Gea, it affects the back four, it affects the midfield balance. Marcus will get the headlines and rightly so because he’s been devastating in a way. Casemiro is the glue guy.

“It’d be a tough call, I want to give it to Marcus but I feel like Casemiro has taken the team to the next level.”

Despite having disciplinary problems this time that have seen Casemiro miss eight matches through suspension, he has brought out the best in his team-mates.

And Hargreaves says he deserves the award for how consistent his displays have been.

“I think that’s [Casemiro’s consistency] the one thing. There’s been so many great players here, but the great, great ones are consistent,” he continued.

“You think of Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, they are seven out of 10 pretty much every game and sometimes they’re an eight or a nine, and rarely they have a five out of 10 game.

“I think Casemiro does that. He’s always a seven, eight out of 10, he rarely ever makes mistakes. The thing that I love, I think it maybe surprises a few people, but as good as he is defensively, his first pass is always forward.

“Sir Alex always said: ‘When you win the ball back, play forward.’ He wins it and he passes forward, he gets it to Bruno [Fernandes] or he gets it to Eriksen, who play in Marcus or any of the attacking players.

“Casemiro has been fabulous, he’s winning the ball back, he’s protecting the team but also, he’s a fabulous passer of the ball going forward.”

He’s also a fabulously weird dancer if Sunday is anything to go by. But tension can bring out the stranger side of any mere mortal.

By Michael Lee

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