Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro has revealed that coach Zinedine Zidane occasionally joins in during training, and "ends up being the best player".
The Brazilian midfielder has improved drastically under the guidance of Zidane, who last season led Los Blancos to their second successive Champions League title, as well as securing the domestic championship.
And Casemiro has admitted that he was somewhat starstruck by the Frenchman in his early days as coach.
"At first, I was embarrassed to speak to him," he told ESPN Brazil. "Nowadays, it's more natural. Sometimes, when we are missing a guy, he participates in the training matches and ends up being the best player."
Casemiro earned plaudits for his performances last season, unscrupulously tidying up in midfield to allow his more technically gifted teammates to play with more freedom.
One player who has benefited from the 25-year-old's discipline in midfield is compatriot Marcelo, whose ability Casemiro has described as "crazy".
“He’s a smart guy," Casemiro added. "He knows how to ration himself in the important games. We have to congratulate him and the technical staff because Cristiano Ronaldo was a machine last season.”