Crux Clásico: Causa Kroos pushes Real

The clásico is becoming a sticking point: while coach Zinédine Zidane has received plenty of criticism for the demotion of Toni Kroos, Real Madrid face a landmark duel with arch-rivals FC Barcelona.

Before the great Clásico, Toni Kroos was everywhere. On Real Madrid’s website, the recently demoted director competed with Marcelo in a duel, and on Twitter he casually hit the net via direct subscription.

It was almost as if coach Zinédine had personally ordered Zidane to dispel doubts about his affection for Germany once and for all. After all, the last thing the royals need before the showdown with their arch-rivals FC Barcelona on Sunday are side stages.

Zidane himself provided just such a setting when he let Kroos stew on the bench for 90 minutes in Wednesday’s Champions League 1-2 draw with Manchester City. The Spanish media got carried away.