Toni Kroos Career Retrospective
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In this special episode, we’re joined by Jarod Hector, a Madridista and podcaster for True Hoop to pay tribute to the legendary Toni Kroos as he hangs up his boots. We dive deep into Kroos’ immense impact on Real Madrid and the German National Team’s tactical identity, as he brought control to teams that traditionally preferred more heavy metal, transition-focused approaches to the game. Jarod helps us contrast Kroos and Luka Modric with their predecessors, Mesut Özil and Xabi Alonso. We also explore how Florentino Pérez’s crucial improvements as club president during the Kroos era laid the foundation for an unprecedented period of success. From the historic threepeat to Kroos’ ability to carry the team in the post-Ronaldo seasons, we leave no stone unturned in our analysis of his legacy. We focus on Kroos’ unique ability to control the game and process information on the pitch relative to other greats like Xavi, Busquets and Thiago. Looking ahead, we evaluate Real Madrid’s squad depth and the daunting task of replacing a player of Kroos’ caliber. The conversation then ends by touching on the NBA playoffs and the rise of Luka Doncic, as we explore the fascinating concept of subjective time and cognitive processing speeds in sports. TIMESTAMPS: 2:29 - Introducing Jarod and Truehoop 6:10 - How Kroos shifted Real Madrid’s tactical identity after Mourinho 10:13 - Kroos, Guardiola and Germany’s shifting identity 12:50 - Contrasting Ozil and Xabi Alonso with Kroos and Modric 18:41 - Makelele, Tchouameni, and Florentino’s crucial improvements as club president during the Kroos era 27:09 - Kroos’ impact on Real Madrid’s tactics in 2014-15 35:19 - The threepeat years and switching play 37:50 - Carrying during the post-Ronaldo seasons under Zidane 41:58 - The de and re-optimization of Kroos under Carlo Ancelotti 50:37 - Kroos’ hall of fame controlling & cognitive processing skills 1:03:54 - Real Madrid’s squad depth heading into the new season 1:16:33 - Best controlling midfielders of the 21st century 1:25:35 - Replacing Toni Kroos 1:34:36 - Subjective time and cognitive processing speeds 1:42:26 - Luka Doncic & the NBA Playoffs The Real Deal is a small Managing Madrid spinoff show that hosts podcasts that go up on our Spotify feed. Find them on X, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok at @realdealpods for more takes and banter between episodes! Did you enjoy this podcast? Get a ton of bonus content exclusively on Join our Real Madrid Discord Channel: Managing Madrid is a hub for all Madridistas with updated news, op-eds, tactical analyses, artwork, and of course, podcasts. It also serves as a means for Real Madrid fans to connect and discuss the team. We would like your support so that we can continue to produce podcasts for you. The site is run by a small team that works tirelessly around the clock to make it into what it is today. Your contributions will allow us to continue to have a real and full-time presence in keeping this website, and it’s podcasts, going. Hosts this week: Siddharth Ramsundar (@TacticalFouling) Jarod Hector (@jshector) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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