Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: 5 players who must shine on Saturday

Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos
Toni Kroos of Real Madrid (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid CM Toni Kroos

Real Madrid’s midfield will be almost impossible to predict for El Clasico, though it’s never easy to predict who Zinedine Zidane is going to start in his XI in any given week. Now that he is feeling some pressure, he should lean on his tried and true players, and Toni Kroos is as consistent as they come.

Kroos is magnificent with the ball at his feet. He rarely loses possession, which was, perhaps, why fans were so shocked by his performance last week against Cadiz. Quietly, he played well off the bench against Shakhtar Donetsk as a stabilizing presence off the bench, though that will come as little solace to him in the face of two awful losses.

The German international is averaging 3.3 key passes per game, according to, as he’s doing everything he can to create for his teammates. He and Luka Modric have been excellent this season, but the forwards have let them down with their finishing.

Kroos has a good record in Clasicos, and his initial pass helped set up that goal for Vinicius Junior in the last one. That’s the kind of leadership on the ball that Kroos has for Real Madrid. He is near the Benzema and Ramos level for the midfield and often for the whole team when they have the ball. Because he is the one who sets the tone, which becomes vital against a team like La Blaugrana.