You would be hard pressed to pick out a Real Madrid midfield over the past 25 years that has lacked widespread quality and the class of 2016 is no different, however Toni Kroos’ abilities are unique within the team.
In the face of an injury crisis which has claimed both Luka Modric and Casemiro, Zinedine Zidane will be forced to rely upon the German to fulfil numerous roles across the middle of the pitch.
From being almost a luxury midfielder required to sprinkle stardust on attacking moves from a deep midfield position, the former Bayern Munich academy graduate will now have to be tough-tackling and clever in his movement.
As such the French coach wants to take care of him more than ever and short of wrapping him in cotton wool, the best Zidane can do is monitor his fatigue levels.
Kroos is so highly thought of behind the scenes at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu that even before the current on-pitch dependency on him began, plans were afoot to tie him down to a new contract.
At just 26 years old he still has a lot of years at the top level and Los Blancos are keen to ensure he spends those in the Spanish capital rather than the Premier League with Manchester United known to be long-standing admirers.