Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid: Toni Kroos bosses midfield in cagey Madrid derby

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The Madrid derby on Saturday night ended in an anti-climatic goalless draw which saw Real Madrid keep top spot in La Liga.

The 0-0 result with Ateltico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano sees Real stay top by a point over promoted Granada.

Neither side were able to get the upper hand in a cagey encounter.

Toni Kroos was however a standout player in the game and here we take a closer look at his performance.

KEY STATS

Passes (success-rate): 80 (93.8%)

Tackles: 1

Shots: 3

Key passes: 3

Interceptions: 1

Long passes: 13

Touches: 98

30-SECOND REPORT

Kroos started in midfield alongside Casemiro and Federico Valverde. The inclusion of the 21-year-old ahead of Luka Modric was perhaps a good move by Zinedine Zidane. A midfield that included both Kroos and Modric would likely be overrun by an energetic Atletico side.

Instead, the Germany international was the undisputed playmaker in the middle while Casemiro and Valverde were its more dogged occupants. That seemed to work well for Kroos who had one of his best games this season.

The 29-year-old even came close to scoring for Los Blancos. Twice towards the end of the first half he drew saves from Jan Oblak. First, a drilled effort with his left foot needed to be gathered at the second attempt by the Atleti custodian before a first-time curler needed to be pushed around the post.

GOT RIGHT – DICTATING PLAY

If there’s one thing you can say about Kroos with complete certainty it’s that he’s a phenomenal distributor of the ball. His range of passing is second to none and an unerring accuracy makes his operations in midfield seem almost mechanical.

The German bossed the middle of the park in possession, orchestrating Madrid’s build-up expertly. It comes as no surprise that he finished with a passing accuracy of 93.8 per cent or that he completed 13 of his 14 long passes.

He even mustered a couple of key passes having threatened the goal himself though he would’ve liked to have had more influence in the final third.

GOT WRONG – OFF THE BALL ACTION

For all his good work with the ball at his feet, Kroos is increasingly becoming a liability when Madrid don’t have possession. The midfielder has never been a ball-winner but his mobility seems to be in decline and that’s affecting his positioning.

Valverde offered more energy beside him in place of Modric but the youngster’s running around made Kroos look even more static. One tackle was the extent of his defensive contribution.

VERDICT

Kroos was one of the best players on the pitch but it’s frustrating that he wasn’t able to find a killer ball for one of his team-mates. That said, he did go close to scoring himself on a couple of occasions and no-one exercised more control in that midfield battle.

Rating: 7/10

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