Real Madrid: Never forget that Toni Kroos is in a class of his own

Toni Kroos of Real Madrid (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Toni Kroos of Real Madrid (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

There are many reasons for Madridistas to be concerned about the future, but there will always be a sense of calm when they watch Toni Kroos go to work in the Real Madrid midfield.

The 2020-2021 season has not been a banner year for Los Blancos thus far. They struggled through the Champions League group stages due to their inability to solve Shakhtar Donetsk’s low-block (or defend the ensuing counters), and those same issues against tight defenses have cost them valuable points in a La Liga title race that favors crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid.

Yet despite all the negatives and the frustrations from fans towards Madrid’s transfer policy, the old core of Madrid stars has offered fans key bright spots. Kroos has absolutely been one of those standouts for the club, even if his contributions sometimes get overshadowed by Karim Benzema’s goal contributions and fellow midfielder Luka Modrić’s sensational play.

Kroos’ statistics in the Champions League group stages were, once again, jaw-dropping. He did not lead all players in key passes this year, but his general passing statistics were ridiculous. The German international completed 94 percent of his passes, per Out of the 10 players with a passing accuracy of 94.0 percent, Kroos was the only one with more than 2.0 long balls attempted per game. And how many did he attempt? 10.3! Likewise, he was the only one of those players with at least one key pass per game. He had 2.3!

Real Madrid star Toni Kroos is a surgeon with the ball at his feet

There are some players who run circles around the opposition. Kroos is more efficient. He just passes over them. Although Kroos “earned” a reputation from casual football observers on the Internet who don’t actually observe REAL football – just FIFA, which isn’t even the best football video game anyway – his staggering long ball and key pass averages in comparison to his accuracy are indicators that he does a LOT more than pass sideways.

Sometimes passing for the sake of keeping possession is important, especially when playing out of the press. Kroos is great at that, of course, which is why he’s always referred to as “composed”. When the team needs to get out of a sticky situation, they look for Kroos. And Kroos will subtly create space with a good first touch or turn, then find a teammate who has more space for a progressive second ball. Or, he might even break the game wide open with a looping long ball to the other side of the pitch, struck from left-to-right with pinpoint accuracy.

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Nobody else does what Toni Kroos can do. The Champions League numbers show it. There is not a single player who controls games with precision passing through all regions of the pitch while still creating clear-cut chances. Kroos is a maestro against the press, from open play, in the final third, and on set pieces. There are those who wish to emulate him and still more who wish to drag him down. But Kroos, as he is want to do, will sit quietly and let his delicate “ping” of the ball do the talking for him.