Ten Real Madrid players celebrated Mendy's goal in Bergamo with algarabía. Nine were a pineapple around French and Courtois clenched his fists and shouted 'yes' in his area. One was missing, the one who walked unhurriedly from the corner to the center of the field, who had pitched the strategy play. It was Toni Kroos. The German barely moved a muscle from his face to a goal that could be the passport to the quarters. More expressive was before, when a pass failed.

Because that doesn't get into his script. Since reaching Real Madrid, there has been no one to take care of the ball like Greifswald's German does 21,057 good passes and 93.34% security. It follows him in good passes Sergio Busquets, who in 21 more games (321 by 308) has given 20,989 correct passes for a percentage of 90.65.

Kroos, who against Real beats Uli Stielike as the German with the most matches played in the white shirt, is part of the triumvirate of a center of the field of legend, which forms with Casemiro and Modric. "No midfielder can control the games for ten years, and we've been in a lot of time. For me, the center of the field is key to success, but we don't play for people to say we're the best, we play to achieve results," explains the German about his position, his associates, and his work.

What it's like to carry the weight of Madrid's game knows a lot about Vicente del Bosque. He did so for more than a decade, from 1973 until in 1984 a scourged Luis Molowny told him that he was starting to see him more in coaching than on the field, as long as Vicente saw him the same. He was clear that it was the step to take.

Kroos was seen in Spain before anyone else. In the spring of 2012, when Bayern eliminated Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, they were all talking about Robben, Muller, Riber, Schweinsteiger, and Neuer. Del Bosque no. "The real good is the 39th, the youngest, Kroos," he said after the Bernabéu party. He wasn't wrong.

Nearly a decade later, Kroos is the history of Madrid. And Del Bosque analyzes your game with MARK. "It's vital to the team, like what Modric is. He does many things, all with astonishing simplicity. What stands out most about him is his ability to choose well. He always does, he's on the right track. It's brilliant when it comes to playing and choosing," he explains.

The world and European champion technician with Spain highlight Kroos' reading of every moment: "It is of those midfielders with the ability to mix everything: short play and move right at medium distances or with precise long displacements or orientation changes. In addition, it makes it easy, quiet, and fast, you don't need to knead the ball: if you can do it in three taps instead of four it does; and if it's possible in one or two, the better."

Del Bosque values what German does in both parts of the field. "Kroos maintains the defensive position, which is a very important thing for his team. Then he is a player with arrival, with a good shot with both legs, good shot of volley... And their punchlines usually take a goal, they're well directed. His beating is very good and effective," Del Bosque finishes.


Guardiola's displeasure

Bayern's Kroos march was a stick for Guardiola. The Kroos-Pep relationship is excellent, as was found in the bowels of the Bernabéu when they met a year ago. "I loved playing for him and I could have renewed my contract with Bayern, of course. But I don't think it's a good idea to sign an agreement just for the coach.

He wanted me to renew, but what was the point of signing a five-year contract if he was going to leave earlier. We're still in touch and we get along, I'll never forget him because I learned a lot," Kroos said in The Atheltic. In fact, they were quoted in the future, even though that already seems impossible today.

When It is Guardiola who speaks of Kroos, the praise is capital: "He is a very intelligent player, very cerebral, very calm... And many times, when things go wrong, we give and burden responsibility and blame to players who seem colder or more technical. But those players are the bravest, the ones with the most courage. The players who shout the most are the ones who hide the most when things get tough. Toni is the opposite, in the most difficult times he is the bravest of all."

There's a reason Del Bosque and Guardiola see a lot of things the same way. The pity is that Kroos doesn't want to go his way: "If I'll be a coach? No, I'm not.