Real Madrid: The stats showing why Toni Kroos is the best passer in the world right now

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid center midfielder Toni Kroos is having one of the best seasons imaginable in midfield, and it feels like not enough people are talking about the extent of his greatness in the 2020-2021 season. The German international is crushing it, leading Real each and every week with a consistency that cannot be matched.

But what blows me away the most are the stats behind what we see on the pitch. They really emphasize that what Madridistas are seeing and saying is real. That Kroos is putting together a season for the ages and nobody else is coming close to what he’s doing when you put together the full context of the numbers.

Let’s begin with accuracy. Kroos is completing, per, 93.5 percent of his passes. That’s seventh in Europe’s top five leagues, but what’s even more impressive is when you put into context the difficulty of his passes.

Usually, having more assists and key passes will lead to a lower pass completion percentage. Thomas Muller has the most assists of any player in Europe’s top five, but he only completes about three-quarters of his passes. Kevin de Bruyne is known as a double-digit assist monster who averages three key passes per game, but his pass completion percentage is in the low 80’s.

Toni Kroos’ pass completion percentage is ridiculous when you account for his other passing numbers

Kroos completes nearly 94 percent of his passes with eight assists and 2.5 key passes per game. There are 47 players with a pass completion percentage of 91 in Europe’s top five. Ilkay Gundogan is the only one averaging 1.5 key passes per game. Nobody on that list has five assists. Kroos is on another level.

And here’s another stat that makes Kroos’ pass completion percentage even more ridiculous. There is not a single outfield player with more long balls attempted than Kroos’ 8.7. Obviously, if you are attempting longer passes, your pass completion percentage should go down. There isn’t another outfield player even averaging 8.0 long balls per game. And yet, Kroos is completing 93.5 percent of his passes.

On that list of 47, Thiago Silva (5.3) and Sergio Ramos (7.6) are the only other players averaging more than five long ball per game. They are center backs. Center backs can average more long balls attempted since they will be under less pressure than a midfielder and their targets will also likely be under less pressure than, say, a midfielder passing to a forward.

If the context of his passing accuracy, assists, long balls, and key passes doesn’t impress you, then maybe the fact that he leads all of Europe’s top five leagues in passes into the final third, per, will. With 250 passes into the final third, he is well ahead of Rennes veteran Steven N’Zonzi in second place. And of the top 20 players in passes into the final third, Lionel Messi – his equal with eight – is the only other player with at least five assists.

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Kroos is having a marvelous season as a passer. He is completing difficult passes, forward-moving passes, and chance-creating passes at a level of precision that is simply unthinkable. You really have to dig into these numbers, memorize them, and understand what they mean to truly appreciate what we are seeing from the Real Madrid midfield maestro this season. I just wish more fans around the world were talking about the level of brilliance Kroos is achieving each and every week.