REAL MADRID

"There is something going on with Kroos"

Former Real Madrid player and pundit, Álvaro Benito, suspects there was more to Toni Kroos' absence from the Man City game than Zidane has let on.

"Something's going on with Kroos"

Following Real Madrid’s loss to Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabéu, one of the major talking points has been the absence of Toni Kroos.

The German midfielder was an unused substitute in the game. And the fact that coach Zinedine Zidane did not choose to bring him on in one of the most important games of the season to contain the City onslaught has led former Madrid player and pundit, Álvaro Benito, to conclude that there is something “going on” with the player.

“He didn't even go out to warm up. You can send him to warm up with the idea that he will participate, and suddenly City score two goals and you think it is more convenient to bring on more attacking players,” said Benito on Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

In his post-match press conference, Zidane was asked about Kroos’ absence from the starting XI, with the French boss claiming it was down to nothing more than a coaching decision. However, Benito was not convinced by Zidane's response.

“I saw Zidane’s answer later on television and he gives me the feeling that something is going on there,” he said.

Kroos seen chatting with Guardiola

Kroos was neither seen on the pitch nor warming up on the side-line at the Bernabéu on Wednesday. However the former Bayern player was spotted chatting with Pep Guardiola outside the dressing rooms after the Madrid defeat, which has naturally raised a few eyebrows.

The images come to light just after Kroos’ affectionate words for Guardiola, under whom he played when the two coincided at Bayern Munich.

“Pep wanted me to renew but what would have been the point of me signing a five-year deal if the manager was off again soon? He went to Man City two years later but we're still in touch and get on very well. I will never forget it because I learned so much,” the German international told The Athletic in an interview ahead of Wednesday’s clash.