Real Madrid's Toni Kroos has been one of La Liga's stellar performers this season.
The shock emanating from Madrid once the supporters realised Xabi Alonso was being sold to rivals Bayern Munich soon dissipated when it was announced that Kroos was moving in the opposite direction.
Renowned for his industrial approach in the midfield, the German is the top passer in European football this season, with an astonishing accuracy of 93.1 percent in La Liga, rising to 94.3 percent in the Champions League, per WhoScored.com.
It's precisely that kind of excellence for which he was purchased and in many respects can be classed as Real's most important player thus far this campaign. He is the conduit through which everything flows at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Next time you are watching a Real game, count just how many times Kroos is involved in a particular move, how many passes he makes and where he positions himself. Always available, he makes the difficult look routine, often turning defence into attack in the blink of an eye.
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"Best player on the pitch"
Carlo Ancelotti is just one of many who are impressed by what they've seen. After the recent game against Rayo Vallecano, the Italian told reporters: “Kroos was the best player on the pitch. He scored for the first time and he has surprised me for how consistently he is performing at a very high level.”
"Kroos was the best player on the pitch. He scored for the first time and he has surprised me for how consistently he is performing at a very high level"
Such praise is well-deserved, however now might be a good time to wrap up Kroos in cotton wool.
Modric injury down to too many games
Luka Modric has already succumbed to the rigours of playing so many matches this season, and his absence until the New Year has been put down squarely to fatigue and associated muscle soreness.
His manager at international level, Niko Kovac, noted: "This injury came about because of the high number of games Luka played in, and to think that I'd been strongly criticised for resting him against Argentina.
"I knew he had to be rested because I was a player and played two or three times a week for a long time. I know how hard it is.
"We travelled to Munich with the Real Madrid doctor to visit Dr. Wolfhart-Muller in order to get a second opinion on Luka's injury.
"He confirmed what we had been told by the club in Madrid. It's quite a serious problem, but his recovery is going well and we hope to see him out on the pitch again in March."
A warning to Kroos if ever there was, and one which has to be heeded.
No rest since before the World Cup
We need to remember that the German played throughout the World Cup and, with virtually no rest, joined up with his new club team mates and was thrown straight into the side, playing every game since.
Between now and the resumption of the Champions League, it may be pertinent for Ancelotti to rotate his midfield and utilise the talents of Asier Illarramendi as well as Isco, Sami Khedira et al.
In with a genuine shout at being the first club to retain the Champions League in the modern era, being sensible now will pay dividends for Real and Kroos later.
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