Toni Kroos has joined an elite list of players who have won five UEFA Champions Leagues, winning one at Bayern Munich (2013) and four at Real Madrid (2016, 2017, 2018, 2022). But Kroos’ excellence and legacy go way beyond winning this prestigious European club competition five times.
Kroos will go down as one of the greatest passers in the history of football. Who knows, he could perhaps also be the greatest passer to ever step on a football pitch by the time he hangs up his boots.
But while that day is still a couple of years away, he keeps bossing the midfield and shuts all the critics up with his ever-reliable efficiency and on-field bravado.
Ever since Opta began collecting data in the 2003-04 season, no player has had more passes into the final third in the Champions League than the man himself, Toni Kroos. The German midfield maestro has had 1430 passes in the final third, followed by Xavi, who has 1421. The top five is completed by Xabi Alonso (1386), Cesc Fabregas (1160), and Sergio Busquets (1141). That’s an elite list right there.
Toni Kroos is creating a bigger Champions League legacy than the likes of Xavi
Not only does Kroos top the charts for the most passes in the final third, but he has also done it with the highest efficiency. He has had a success rate of 89% (min. 300 passes) for the same stat, which is also the best of all time.
It’s even crazier when you consider the fact that Xavi played 151 games in the Champions League while Kroos has played 22 fewer games (129). He has also won one more Champions League than Xavi.
The consistency with which Kroos plays is simply magisterial. The fact that he is so freaking consistent makes his great performances look average. It’s just the way he plays. He has made us immune to his greatness. And that masterclass in the Champions League final? Wow! Kroos has proven his doubters wrong, and I am not ashamed to admit that I was one of those who thought Kroos is slowly but surely showing signs of slowing down.
Want your voice heard? Join the The Real Champs team!
At 32, Kroos is only going to decline from here on. But that’s going to be a slow process, a very slow one. And anyway, he has reiterated his desire to not continue for too long, recently stating that he intends to call it a day in 2024. So we can stop thinking about his performances not being at a very high level, because Kroos will simply drop a masterclass to thwart any lingering doubts you might have about him.