In Real Madrid’s legendary period of winning three Champions League titles in a row, their midfield had a huge part to play. Luka Modric, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos formed one of the greatest midfield partnerships of all time, as they went on to win one title after the other under Zinedine Zidane. After the 2018-19 season, it was said that Real Madrid needed new, young stars to take over the team as Kroos and Modric were said to be too slow for the team. The midfielders have somehow managed to keep their form going.
Real Madrid have dominated the possession of the ball in most of their games and their midfield has played an important role in this. Real have completed the most number of passes in the league and have an average of 575.1 passes per 90 minutes.
Real have had the second-highest match tempo in the Champions League as they have completed 19.04 passes per minute of pure possession. Toni Kroos has a very big role in this, as he is the one who controls the pace of the game for Real and helps in keeping possession of the ball.
Luka Modric is now 36 years old, and still has a vital role in Real Madrid’s midfield. He’s still one of the best midfielders in the world. There aren’t many players in the history of football that have played at this high level till the age of 36. His passing metrics in the Champions League indicate that his stats are significantly higher than the median league value. Modric has an expected assist rate of 0.22 per 90 minutes. He has played 74.65 passes on an average in each match and has a high pass accuracy rate of 93.67%.
As for Kroos, well, he does what he needs to do. He slows the game down when it is required and builds up the pace when there is a need. His long-range passing is his strongest suit and is second to none. Kroos has attempted 89.70 passes per 90 minutes and has a very high pass accuracy rate of almost 95%. The German has played 21 forward passes on an average. Real Madrid would have difficulty in replacing him when the time comes. Kroos is the mastermind for Madrid’s game as he is the main playmaker in the team and controls the tempo of the game for his team.
Casemiro is very important to the club, as are Toni Kroos and Modric. The majority of Casemiro’s work in the midfield is to win the ball back from the opponents and play it to his wide forwards or even his midfield compatriots. Casemiro has attempted 15.03 defensive actions per 90 minutes and has won 80.56% of these defensive actions. He has completed 5.64 interceptions per 90 minutes and is better than 89% of the players in the tournament for the same. There was a period in this season when Casemiro was not able to settle and put up a couple of bizarre performances. But since the arrival of Kroos back from injury, Casemiro has looked like the player he was in their previous seasons.
The above visual shows us the breakdown of the xT generated by the Real Madrid players against Sheriff last week. As seen in the visual, all three midfielders had a high xT from the passes they made into the final third. Toni Kross had the highest xT from his passes (0.86) while Modric had a high xT from the dribbles he attempted.
These three are currently the best midfielders that Real Madrid have, and there’s simply no one good enough to replace them in the line-up. These three players have great chemistry and understanding and are even better together than they are individually. This is what matters to Real Madrid the most, which is why they will stick with their veteran midfield trio for the most part.