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Pogba and Kroos: the guns versus butter debate

During some of the quieter periods in the Real Madrid-Athletic game, the commentary team on Carrusel moved away from the game itself to focus on other topics. It was during one of those  moments that Álvaro Benito threw a question to the rest of the team for debate: Would bringing in Paul Pogba to play alongside Toni Kroos improve Madrid's game, or have a negative effect on it? He ended up answering his own question - suggesting it would worsen their game. Mijatovic agreed, although stressed that it would depend on whether we are talking about this season’s Toni Kroos or the one of previous seasons. Tomás Roncero came straight to the point: “At Real Madrid, those that make their bed lie in it”. What he meant was that by letting his performance levels drop this season, Kroos shouldn’t be too surprised if he is shown the door. And he’s a player who several clubs would be interested in.

Toni Kroos
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Pros and cons

In my contribution to the debate, I mentioned that every time I watch Pogba, I really want to see good things in him, but I’m never entirely convinced. But he’s an incredibly strong player, who’s always in the think of the action, he’s a great header of the ball and scores quite a lot of goals. He’s a player who fills the pitch and balances the team but his game is limited. Kroos meanwhile, with his calm approach and reluctance to drop back to defend, has helped Madrid to manage games by acting as Modric’s bodyguard. He knows all of the secrets about setting the rhythm in the centre of the park, he’s always present, he supports his team mates, he’s a good passer of the ball and has an excellent delivery from dead-ball situations - corners or free-kicks outside the area. But he scores a lot less goals than Pogba and sometimes can appear apathetic, disinterested…

Paul Pogba
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Paul PogbaAlex LiveseyGetty Images

Zidane building a new Real Madrid

It’s the age-old guns versus butter dilemma – two separate assets which offer different benefits but cannot really be compared. Kroos has more of a football brain, he has style while Pogba is a tireless workhorse who sees himself as the one in charge at both ends of the pitch. The thing is, Zidane likes him and on top of that, considers him to be the player who can be in the backbone of his new-look Madrid. Only the other day he told our reporter Agustín Martín that he is going to change the system. And of course, bringing in Pogba would represent a big change to Real Madrid’s midfield – beyond just changing the formation. The truth is that the team that won four of the last five Champions League has started to age, and they are also now without Cristiano, and Zidane thinks now’s the time to start something new and different.