Real Madrid: 5 burning questions after emphatic El Derbi win

Real Madrid, Luka Modric (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Luka Modric (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Toni Kroos
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Is there a better midfield duo than Luka Modric and Toni Kroos right now?

Toni Kroos and Luka Modric have controlled a few games together this season in either a double-pivot or as opposite numbers of Real’s more traditional 4-3-3 midfield setup. But their finest performances have come this week when Los Blancos needed the experienced superstars the most.

Modric’s heat map against Borussia Monchengladbach and Atletico Madrid are unlike anything we’ve come to expect from a 35-year-old midfield. The man dismisses age and our preconceived notions of what a 35-year-old, box-to-box midfielder is capable of. He was exquisite again on Matchday 13 vs. Atleti.

But the real star of the show was Toni Kroos. After an arguable Man of the Match display against Gladbach (Karim Benzema and Modric were very much a part of that argument, of course), the German was the star of the show in El Derbi.

It’s so rare to see a midfielder control Atletico Madrid like this, let alone in an amped-up derby. Kroos completed 96.7 percent of his 90 passes, according to, assisting once from a corner with three total chances created.

But the stats do not do justice to the sheer elegance and intelligence of Kroos’ performance. He was a chessmaster holding off Atleti’s players, finding teammates in open space when starting transitions, and switching play to keep Atleti on their toes.

I’m not sure that, right now, there is a midfield duo that can control a match quite to the level of Kroos and Modric. They in a class of their own.