Real Madrid vs. Athletic Club: 3 takeaways from a 3-1 win

Real Madrid (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Toni Kroos has a case for Real Madrid’s Player of the Season

Picking against Luka Modric is something I’m not sure I’m in the business of doing, because he’s been so consistently great in 2020-2021. But if a Madridista were to tell me that Toni Kroos were their Player of the Season for Real Madrid thus far, then I would consider the German star to be a more than acceptable alternative to the former Ballon d’Or winner.

Kroos has been marvelous these last few weeks. He rarely misplaces a pass and has been so crucial to Real Madrid making progressive attacking plays. Kroos is the orchestrator of the attacks, and he has been excelling in a deeper-lying role, as he did in this win over Athletic Club.

His highlight of the match was undoubtedly his first-half goal, which was a trademark low-drive into the bottom corner with swerve and deception that left one of La Liga’s better goalkeepers, Unai Simon, with no chance.

But Kroos did more beyond that goal. Per, the 30-year-old led the team with 90 passes, completing 96.7 percent of them against a tough Athletic Club side who scarcely gave Real much space to work with. Kroos had two through balls, three accurate crosses of six, and two fouls drawn. He was in vintage form again this Tuesday night, and he fully deserved to be named the official Man of the Match in this win.