Real Madrid: Three players whom Toni Kroos has made better

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Toni Kroos, Casemiro (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos, Casemiro (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /


"“Real Madrid matches always go in Kroos’ rhythm. He’s one of the most important players at the club because he manages the ball and the rhythm with which we play. If Toni wants to play slowly, we play slowly. If he wants us to play quicker, we play quicker. We play in Kroos’ way.”"

These were Casemiro’s words in an interview with AS when asked about Toni Kroos. These precious words from Casemiro give us an idea of the immense respect he has for his teammate, and it also showcases the trust he has in Kroos. And it doesn’t come as surprise, considering how each player’s presence has enabled the other to play freely.

Casemiro’s deficiencies with the ball at his feet aren’t any secret, and he isn’t as press-resistant as his teammates. His passing looks erratic at times, and the opponents have always tried to take the advantage of this weakness of his by pressing him hard during the buildup phase. Sometimes this weakness of his had proven to be costly, but one minor adjustment made in the buildup structure, which involves both Kroos and Casemiro, has proved to be beneficial for the team and the players as well.

Kroos began to drop deeper than Casemiro, to form a back-three with the centre-backs, and be the deep-lying playmaker of the team. With Luka Modric on the right to support Kroos during the possession phase, Casemiro started to occupy higher central positions. This freed him of a role in the buildup phase, he started to occupy halfspaces between the stacked defensive lines.

Kroos is one of the best press-resistant players around the world, and his initiating the build-up meant that there would be a lower risk of losing the ball and increased fluidity in ball-progression. Casemiro being higher up the pitch to get into the box to attack a cross from the wings, and given his supreme ability to recover quickly meant there wasn’t much risk in that shape.

And Kroos would often pass to Casemiro in the centre and the Brazilian would switch the possession with a simple one-touch pass towards the flanks, or he would redistribute it to the centre-backs if he would be closed down quickly, to start the move all over. And his positioning also helps the counter-pressing structure of Real Madrid.

Casemiro would also help Kroos by covering for the German when he’s higher up the pitch since Kroos isn’t as quick as Casemiro to recover soon. In this way, both players have helped each other, and Kroos’ constant support to Casemiro throughout these years has helped him to improve his ball-playing abilities, something which is particularly visible in his long passing skills.

Not to forget that Casemiro is one of Kroos’ preferred targets in set-piece situations. The strong Brazilian has some great heading abilities, and Kroos always looks to pick the Brazilian with the dead ball. Out of Casemiro’s six goals this season, three have been assisted by the ‘German Sniper’ from setpieces.