Toni Kroos has recorded three assists in his last two games for Real Madrid, but that’s only a snapshot of the story.
Real Madrid is at the top of La Liga’s 2019/20 table, into the quarters of Copa del Rey and in the round of 16 of the Champions League. Los Blancos have suffered only two defeats this season so far and are currently on a 20-game unbeaten streak. There is a huge difference in this team and the one from the last season. And one of the protagonists for this revival has been Toni Kroos.
This season, Kroos has been a completely different player, not just compared to the last season, but all his seasons at Real so far. Looking at his game just through the eye test, Kroos seems to be pressing more, running more, working harder when defending, winning balls higher up the pitch and taking more shots. And the stats back all this up.
According to stats from as.com, Kroos gives the ball away at the rate of 8.68 per match this season. In 2018/19 and 2017/18 he was giving the ball away at the rate of 10.04 and 10.93 respectively. He averages 1.37 shots each game in La Liga this season whereas it was 1.15 in 2017/18 and just 0.71 in 2018/19.
Kroos has 106 ball recoveries in La Liga behind only Casemiro’s 162 and Sergio Ramos’ 121. In the Champions League, he has 32 recoveries again behind only Casemiro’s 50 and Carvajal’s 42. He already has 4 goals and 8 assists this season, as compared to 1 goal and 6 assists last season.
The 30-year-old has also been mentally at a different level this season. He looks more and more like a leader than ever, motivating his teammates, popping up with an assist or goal when the team is in desperate need of it, or just taking control of the game when the situation requires it. In La Liga opener of this season, after Modric was sent off, Kroos took control of the game and everything that Real Madrid did, seemed to be going through him.
Of course, he scored that magnificent goal to put the Whites in the lead that game, but even without that goal, Kroos seemed to be on another level. His ability on setpieces has also been very important for Real Madrid this season. Los Blancos’ opponents seem well prepared for Madrid’s offense and in games, Madrid has often struggled to score goals.
But Kroos’ set pieces have helped Los Blancos this season. His perfect centers to the box help players like Varane, Casemiro, and Ramos score goals from set pieces. He has now assisted three of Real’s last five goals of which two were from set piece situations.
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If Toni Kroos can keep up this form and mentality, Real Madrid will keep up their current good form and be in the hunt for all trophies this season.