Toni Kroos will be even tougher for Real Madrid to replace than Luka Modric

The resurgence of Real Madrid under Zinedine Zidane this season is best exemplified by the upturn in form of their midfield. Last season, the centre of Zidane’s team looked in bad shape. It was expected that at least one new midfielder would be signed in the summer, with Paul Pogba widely reported to be on the radar of the Santiago Bernabeu club.

Of course, Pogba ultimately stayed at Manchester United and Zidane was made to make do with what he already had. Nonetheless, Real Madrid’s midfield has been key to their turnaround. Luka Modric has reignited his spark, while Fede Valverde has emerged as the central operator Zidane needed all along, becoming one of the first names on the team sheet.

Toni Kroos has also enjoyed something of a career renaissance. It’s not so long ago that speculation swirled over the German’s future at Real Madrid, with some reports claiming a move to the Premier League or back to Bayern Munich was on the cards. Now, though, Kroos is central to Zidane’s masterplan.

It’s for this reason that Kroos‘ recent comments will have caused some alarm at the Santiago Bernabeu. “I’m 30 years old and it’s a good age to think – what more do I want?” the German midfielder said in an interview. “[My career] won’t last much longer. I’m sure that I won’t play until I’m 38.”

Of course, Real Madrid were always going to have to rejuvenate their midfield at some point in the near future, but Kroos’ comments suggest that point might come sooner than initially expected. Modric is out of contract at the end of the season, with a long-mooted move to Serie A a possibility, and so the Croatian’s exit has at least been comprehended,

Kroos will be even tougher to replace than Modric, though. The German is the one who starts many of Real Madrid’s moves, setting the pace and tempo for his teammates. Kroos does more for the tone of Real Madrid’s play than Modric even if the Croatian’s drive, energy and creativity are also integral.

There is a sense that despite being top of La Liga, Real Madrid are in the midst of a transition. They are somewhere between relying on the Old Guard, the likes of Karim Benzema, Kroos and Modric, and moving into a new era with Valverde, Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy. Zidane must come up with a succession plan for Kroos in particular.

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Germany loss tough to overcome, but Sweden have it all in their hands

Sweden’s cruel loss against Germany, conceding the winner in the last seconds of the game, certainly makes things tougher for the Swedes, although they have it all in their own hands. 

Toni Kroos‘ 95th-minute strike is certainly hard to overcome, luckily for Sweden, however, there is a way to work around it.

From the game, they will definitely be able to bring more than a few positive aspects, nearly holding on to a draw against the World Champions.  Continue reading

Abject opening defeat puts big pressure on champions


Incumbent champions Germany kicked-off their World Cup campaign in the worst possible fashion as a lacklustre performance from the side saw them succumb to a 1-0 defeat against opponents Mexico, whose dynamic performance saw Germany full far short of the quality they’ve delivered in past campaigns.

Now, significant questions must be asked within the set-up, if they are to turn around a campaign that is already threatening to derail.

Coming off the back of a round of World Cup warm-up matches that were far than flattering for the world champions – which included a narrow victory over lowly Saudi Arabia – the defeat is the latest in a trend of poor results for a team that look low on Continue reading

La Liga Team of Week 37


Following an exhilarating penultimate round of fixtures in which Barca waved goodbye to the prospect of an unbeaten season, we look at the team of the week to arrive from the fallout of the action. 

Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid – seven points

The Slovakian goalkeeper has been exceptional between the sticks for Atleti this season, earning plaudits from across the footballing world.

With his side seemingly set to finish in a more than respectable second position, his 22 clean sheets with just 20 goals conceded is a truly excellent record.

José Gayá, Valencia – five points Continue reading

Germany and Spain lay out draw in La Liga-studded clash


With La Liga action being suspended for the international break, we took the opportunity to take a look at how many of the Spanish division’s top stars performed in the clash between Germany and Spain at the ESPRIT Arena – a game that saw Barcelona’s Marc Ter Stegen and Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos play for the hosts, as sixteen leading La Liga players featured in total.

Having come off the back of a successful qualifying group in which they won nine of their ten fixtures, Spain arrived in the game brimming with confidence and a desire to prove themselves against an elite side having whimpered out of the last two tournaments. Continue reading