Casemiro is set to make his Manchester United debut this weekend when the club take on Southampton away. Having beaten Liverpool 2-1 earlier this week, spirits are high and Erik ten Hag will be keen to keep the momentum going.

One dark cloud that continues to swirl over Old Trafford is the uncertainty surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s future. Ahead of kick-off on Monday night he was seen shaking hands with all his teammates one by one, and was on his feet in celebration when United scored, but reports suggest that Jorge Mendes is still trying to find a new club for the legendary forward for the season ahead.

Speaking with ESPN Brasil, Casemiro has talked about his hopes for Ronaldo to stay.

Well, Cris… we’re talking about a player, in my opinion, one of the best of all time. The idea of being able to play with him again, he knows the respect I have for him. I hope he stays, because he is a player who gives you leadership, gives you a lot of goals, is a winner and is very important to us. He knows the affection and respect I have for him. Speaking Portuguese too, we got closer. It was a guy that since the first day I arrived here, helped me a lot, gave me advice, is helping me a lot. And I hope he stays with us, because he’s a great player, one of the best of all time. Undoubtedly, for us, it is very important.

Brazilian teammate Fred and former Real Madrid teammate Raphael Varane had both been in touch with Casemiro, but he says he has been asking what life is like in the Premier League before the United interest came about.

Before that, you already ask, before having this conversation: what is it like to play in the Premier League? And everyone says nice things, nice things and, of course, when interest starts to happen, you send a message asking and asking questions. We’re talking about Manchester United, a big, powerful club in England. I really wanted to be here.

As I said in my farewell: I felt that it was the end of a cycle at Real, a feeling that I gave everything to that club. I am 30 years old, I feel very strong and I want to learn new things and change. If it were three years from now, maybe I wouldn’t have this desire to change. But I’m still 30 years old. So, the desire to want to learn and to know new things is very good. I’m feeling like a boy! I want to help, I want to play, I want to help my teammates and I want to help Manchester United.

United will be competing in the Europa League this year, which is a big change for Casemiro following his vast experience in the Champions League, but he explained why this didn’t put him off.

Ah, I have five, right? (laughs) But just because I have five doesn’t mean I don’t want Manchester to win! The Champions League is the most important championship, everyone wants to win it. I want to learn, United have always been very affectionate, from day one, they made me feel comfortable. The coach was very attentive, charismatic from day one. They always showed interest. This is very important. The Champions League, of course, I want to win, if we don’t play, I’ll be sad. I want to be there, even for the greatness of the club. But that happens with work and dedication. But the club has always shown a lot of affection, as well as Real. The feeling of being in a big club and being able to play in a big league like the Premier League is very good and very important in that aspect.