Real Madrid rave about Toni Kroos: ‘Makes things easy’

Vinícius Júnior said Toni Kroos “makes things easy” after the veteran midfielder provided the pass for the first of the Brazilian’s two goals in Real Madrid‘s 2-2 draw at Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Vinicius opened the scoring in the 24th minute, converting Kroos’ pinpoint throughball, before goals from Leroy Sané and Harry Kane put Bayern ahead. Vinicius then converted a late penalty to leave the Champions League semifinal all square ahead of the second leg in Madrid next week.

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The Brazil international has now scored five goals in eight Champions League appearances this season. But, speaking after the game, he highlighted the contribution of Kroos, 34, instead.

“Toni always makes things easy,” Vinicius told Movistar. “He gifted me a goal. We practice a lot together in training. I know Toni very well, and he knows me. I’m very happy to have scored two goals. Now we need a magic night at home.”

Kroos, who is returning to the Germany team ahead of this summer’s Euro in his home country, downplayed the connection that resulted in Madrid’s opening goal with their only shot in the first half.

“Vini allowed me to make the pass with his movement,” Kroos told reporters. “He opened up the gap. The pass wasn’t so special.

“What a pass! Incredible,” teammate Rodrygo said. “Age doesn’t matter. [Kroos] has always got that skill, that class that I love to see.”

Madrid’s knack for scoring goals out of nothing is a trait that plays on rivals’ minds as Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka acknowledged after the final whistle.

“We let Vinícius out our eye for a bit and then there was a huge hole,” Goretzka said. “There wasn’t the feeling that something dangerous could happen but that’s the quality of Real and you need to be ready for it all the time.

“We had that last season too against Paris with Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappé, they’re just players with unbelievable quality. It’s extremely dangerous when they’re up front. You always have to have a top defense and of course you can’t march forward blindly, no question.”

With Madrid behind and under pressure, Rodrygo won the penalty in the 83rd minute, forcing a clumsy challenge from Kim Min-Jae as he worked his way through the area, giving Vinicius the chance to equalise.

“This is the Champions League, it will always be like that,” Rodrygo said. “In the moments when people think you’re dead, that’s when you can be dangerous.”

“It’s a good result,” coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “We could have done better. Our best moment was at the start of the second half, and that’s when they scored twice. They showed their best version today, and we didn’t. But we have time to show it next Wednesday.

“The feeling was that we were comfortable, but we lacked intensity. We gave them too many chances to take control of the game. We didn’t want to play in a low block and we went on doing that. We were soft.”

Ancelotti said he’d substituted Jude Bellingham, who had a quiet night, in the 75th minute because he was suffering from cramp.

“He’ll get back to his best level,” Ancelotti said. “He had an injury, which has affected him a lot. Today he wasn’t at his best but he’ll be back soon, he’ll be 100% for Wednesday.”

Madrid play Cadiz in LaLiga on Saturday — and could clinch the league title if results go their way — before hosting Bayern at the Santiago Bernabeu on May 8.