During the triumphant years at Real Madrid, Toni Kroos was one of the most influential footballers within the club’s star-studded squad.
To have Toni Kroos in your line-up was almost an automatic advantage due to his precise technique and ability to read the game for his teammates (much like Andreas Iniesta was for Barcelona and Andrea Pirlo was for Juventus).
But the era of a dominant Real Madrid (which in some ways was centred around Kroos’ abilities) has since faded away.
With the subtle rumours going around about the German international possibly leaving for Manchester United in the summer, it is important to figure out how to approach the changing of the guard.
Whether or not he leaves has yet to be confirmed but regardless of the fact, Kroos is approaching the age of 30 and his recent performances have been criticized.
But the drop is quite understandable as it is impossible to maintain the level he was at five years ago.
So now, beginning to prepare for the inevitable end of an era is a must. We have to ask the question: who, and what comes after Toni Kroos?
Since joining the club in the 2014/15 season from German powerhouses Bayern Munich, Kroos has played almost 17,000 minutes for Real Madrid averaging 74.58 passes per game throughout his career.
His other contributions to the club’s overall fixture results include 13 goals and a stellar 47 assists. It’s numbers like these that testify to Kroos’ significant contribution to the club and utter dominance in the centre of the pitch.
As a result of his commanding style of play in the midfield, Kroos has set the standards in his particular position.
Regardless of which player signs up to fill the massive shoes at Real Madrid, they are likely to have the same key qualities as Kroos: taking set-pieces, ability to play long balls, make key passes and most importantly, read the game at a quicker speed than everyone else.
However, when looking for a replacement Florentino Perez does not necessarily have to sign a player with the exact same style of play.
The short list so far includes a lot of the younger players from the club and Managing Madrid’s Kiyan Sobhani took an extensive look into the vast amount of central midfielders who could possibly take over the German’s role.
Yet, there are endless possibilities for other players to come to Madrid as well.
In the future, Real Madrid could be experimenting with possible new line-ups (which former head coaches Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari previously tried) and the team’s overall dynamic could change.
Adding in another defensive midfielder or teaming up with an attacking midfielder at the front could be an option, or have someone with Kroos’ skills along a fully stocked defence and creative front line could be a nice switch.
There are numerous possibilities as to how Real Madrid handles the turn over once Kroos departs and how they deal with the situation will be crucial to their future seasons.
The control and dominance in the midfield was key to the team’s successes during their triumphant years and developing another line with the quality which Kroos has will be a difficult task.