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Kroos identified as the problem in midfield for Ancelotti, Benítez and Zidane

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Kroos, clave de los problemas del Madrid para Ancelotti, Benítez y Zidane © Getty Images Kroos, clave de los problemas del Madrid para Ancelotti, Benítez y Zidane

Toni Kroos has become front-page news owing to being dropped from the squad for the clash with UD Las Palmas. As 'El País' reports, the German midfielder caused Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benítez a great many headaches as he is an attacking midfielder who when given a holding role found the physical demands of this position to be too much for him. And now, he is also giving Zinedine Zidane headaches too. The truth is, Toni Kroos was never a natural 'number 5' but, owing to the imbalances in the squad, has had to be played in that position.

According to the story, Ancelotti asked in the summer of 2014 for a "physical" midfielder who was able to provide support for Alonso and Di María. According to the Italian, Toni Kroos was not up to that role and, playing in front of the central defence, was only useful when it came to playing the ball out with a certain fluidity. Benítez agreed with him, and also requested the signing of a midfielder similar to Casemiro, but one who was better technically.

Real Madrid asked for reports and analyses of this question and the results were unanimous: everyone agreed with Ancelotti. Playing with Benzema, Bale and Cristiano; and with central defenders who were unable to bring the back line high up, they needed a midfielder who was able to run between 11 and 13 kilometres per game without tiring. Curiously, on the list of possible signings with this profile was N’Golo Kanté, who right now is helping Leicester City in their assault on the Premier League title; but his signing was ruled out because the club top brass said he was not a truly classy footballer.

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