Real Madrid: 5 key players to watch against Inter Milan at the San Siro

Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by A. Ware/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by A. Ware/NurPhoto via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Toni Kroos
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

CM Toni Kroos

I don’t think there is a stat related to Real Madrid that causes me as much annoyance as this one. Toni Kroos is first in La Liga in key passes per game. He is completing about 93 percent of his passes. And he has zero assists. None. His xA? An even 2.0. But his assists? Zero.

There have been so many squandered chances by Real Madrid’s forwards this season, and Kroos has been hurt by this. He’s also been hurt by stagnant movement off the ball, so the fact that he’s been so incisive and accurate with his passing is mightily impressive.

Kroos is a key player to watch on Wednesday night, because he can make the difference for Real Madrid in multiple ways. Not only can he provide the passing quality to frustrate Inter’s physical midfield, but he will also be needed to plug-up gaps and be a competent double-pivot with Luka Modric if Casemiro cannot play.

For the most part, the midfield trio of Martin Odegaard, Toni Kroos, and Luka Modric has looked good this season. They were strong against both Real Sociedad and Villarreal, though things fell apart in the second half at the Estadio de la Ceramica after Odegaard left the pitch.

Kroos has put together some vintage performances this season, but there still seems to be a gear missing. It would be wonderful for him to grab an assist at the San Siro this week.