Real Madrid: 3 takeaways from a nail-biting win over Atalanta

Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Toni Kroos
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images) /

Don’t forget to praise Toni Kroos and Luka Modric again

We knew coming into this match that Toni Kroos and Luka Modric would be difficult for Atalanta to contend with, as they are the best midfield duo in the world. Kroos and Modric have controlled so many matches together for Real Madrid this season, and the 1-0 win over Atalanta was no different.

They had the advantage of going up against 10 men after Freuler’s red card, and they took full advantage of it. According to, both experienced Champions League midfielders had four key passes each. And if the Real Madrid forwards weren’t so woeful in this match, Kroos and Modric would have surely walked away with an assist each and more mainstream plaudits.

Ferland Mendy was the star of the show for his clutch goal in the final minutes of the match, and he deserves to be praised the most for the importance of that long-range effort. But in terms of consistency, Kroos was the best player on the pitch.

Take a look at this stat. Kroos completed 94 percent of his 138 (!) pass attempts with 15 of 19 long balls completed. And, again, he had four key passes. The man is unstoppable, and Atalanta had no hope of stopping him. He deserved to be on the winning side.