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Real Madrid's Evolution Under Zidane Revealed In Toni Kroos' Late Winner

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Toni Kroos' late winner is a testament to how much Real Madrid have improved in 12 months time

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid inched by Celta Vigo Saturday afternoon to claim all three points at home. If this was last season, Los Blancos probably wouldn't have walked into the dressing room at full time with a perfect record. The Galician men enjoyed the perfect storm which nearly dented Zinedine Zidane's title hopes early. Real was unlucky not to convincingly take all three points. A few wonder strikes off the bar and a couple right place, right time saves from Sergio Alvarez made the task complicated.

Eduardo Berrizo's high pressing 4-5-1 caused problems for Real and made life difficult for the Spaniards. Celta Vigo didn't give away easy opportunities for Los Blancos to feast on and bury the opposition with. It's the reason that the majority of the match highlights are chances created from outside the box. Zidane admitted post game that Celta Vigo came out and played a lot better than he anticipated.

"We played against a team who played a lot better than I expected, especially in defense. They made life hard for us and we didn't get any easy chances."

The Frenchmen should've expected this. Celta Vigo performed with absolutely nothing to lose. Leaving the Bernabéu with nothing to show for it is just the fate everyone expected for Celta Vigo. This isn't the right attitude to have if you're leading Real Madrid with the expectations that are on Zidane's shoulders. However, despite Zidane's sub-par approach to the match, the team is evolving under his leadership.

As stated above, this was the type of match that Real Madrid would've dropped points in last year. This time around though, the club dug deep and showed composure to chisel out a victory when luck was stacked against them.

"Sometimes it happens that a game goes to 1-1 and it's not easy. We took the three points from this game and the players' attitudes really pleased me, they believed right up to the end. They were focused right up to the final whistle."

With the game clock ticking down, newly substituted James Rodriguez lost possession on the right flank. As Zidane stated, the Colombian's attitude helped create the goal scoring opportunity for Toni Kroos.

James pressured Jonny Castro as soon as he was dispossessed and won the ball back for Real Madrid. Instead of closing down Lucas Vázquez, Celta Vigo gave the Spaniard enough space on the edge of the box to pick out Toni Kroos who drifted into his danger area. A sweet strike, perfectly placed in the bottom right corner ricocheted off the inside of the post and into the net. The German put in an excellent shift, but the pinpoint accuracy on the shot that mattered most made in the difference and certainly will tastefully linger with the Madridismo in the coming weeks.