Real Madrid: You need to stop underrating Toni Kroos

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

We often say that midfield is the most important department of a squad and whoever wins the battle in the centre of the park will have control over a game. Midfielders dictate the tempo of the game, and they are the connecting link between an attack and the defence. Many top teams have world-class midfielders in their ranks, and though the focus is on the attack in any big game, it is the midfield that determines the team’s fate.

Given the importance of their roles, we expect to see midfielders being judged on the basis of better and bigger parameters. But in this footballing world, we often get to see midfielders being hyped for improper reasons.

Some midfielders get rated for their greater number of goals and assists, while some get hyped for their fancy skill moves (with an even worse reason that they performed it on a rival legend). Some are in the limelight for being a common name in teams that won the Champions League and an international trophy, and some are hyped because they hail from the academies of Ajax, Barcelona and etc.

Only matured fans rate midfielders for their passing skills (the basic skill a midfielder must possess), their press resistance, work rate and many more factors. One such midfielder who doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves because of the improper judgement of midfielders is Toni Kroos of Real Madrid.

Toni Kroos has always been underrated by the mainstream crowd

Kroos is 32 now, and he has won everything that’s available out there, but he still remains an underrated midfielder. He has been so massively underrated by the media that he hasn’t been named in the 30-man shortlist for Ballon d’Or even after an excellent 2020/21 season, while Pedri, an 18-year-old midfielder with around 1-2 months of top-class performances, has been named in the shortlist.

At least Luka Modric has been named on the shortlist and is finally getting some recognition. Until 2018, he also belonged to the category of criminally underrated players. Thanks to the Ballon d’Or award in 2018, and more to the goal he scored against Argentina in the 2018 World Cup, he is finally being shown the respect he deserves.

It is a shame that the brilliance of a 4-time Champions League winner and a World Cup winner isn’t given the recognition. Rivals may criticise him as a “side-passer”, and Bayern’s former president might blame him for the so-called imbalance in Germany at the Euros. But such claims are just ignorant remarks, and just undermine the talent of a player who’s one of the best in his position at the moment, if not the best.

Toni Kroos is so underrated by the footballing world that when Real Madrid contacted Juventus in 2016 for Pogba, the Turin based club asked for Kroos plus 120 million euros. This isn’t even a means of underrating Kroos, it is sheer disrespect to the German. This also shows how footballers are valued in terms of hype, but not on the basis of their talent.

In case you’re someone who is thinking why is the writer hyping this German with a simple hairstyle, have a look at Kroos pass-map against Elche, his most recent game, to get a basic understanding of his profile.

If you pay attention, you know how good Toni Kroos is

If you think the above picture doesn’t justify the way I’m hyping this man with the number 8 on his back, start watching Real Madrid’s games, instead of watching highlights. Observe the way this man who runs at a slow pace controls the whole game with his feet. Observe the way this man with blonde hair can find his teammates present at any corner of the pitch. Observe the way he scans the entire field and pick up the right option within seconds, with the ball reaching his target, like a ‘Sniper’.

Have a close look at the way he escapes pressure with a few simple touches and dribbles past opponents despite not being the fastest man on the pitch. Spot the difference in the pace of every pass at different instants of the game, and match that pace with the scoreline, to get an understanding of the way he sees the game. Notice the way he will set up his teammates into fantastic positions, and create goalscoring chances. Just see the way he will have a perfect game despite his limited skill-set.

To get an idea of the importance of his role, have a look at Real Madrid’s level of comfort on the ball in Toni Kroos’ presence and the way his mere presence brings the best out of his teammates around him. And if you are unlucky enough to watch a Real Madrid game without Toni Kroos in the starting XI, then notice how Real Madrid find it difficult to hold the ball in high-pressure zones, and how a lithe man with long hair is overburdened with the task of controlling the game on his own, in his partner’s absence.

Next. The 5 most underrated players in Real Madrid history. dark

Even after having a close look at the genius of Toni Kroos, if you feel he isn’t one of the best in the business, I would recommend you to go and improve your footballing knowledge. But stop underrating Toni Kroos and undermining his excellence, without a proper idea of his abilities.