Toni Kroos has revealed that he played a part in Real Madrid’s remarkable Champions League victory over Manchester City on and off the field, with the German midfielder advising Carlo Ancelotti on second-half substitutions during a thrilling semi-final contest at Santiago Bernabeu.
The Blancos appeared to be down and out in that contest heading into the closing stages, after seeing Riyad Mahrez put the Blues two goals up on aggregate, but a stoppage-time brace from Rodrygo took the tie to extra-time.
The Brazilian had been introduced for World Cup winner Kroos in the 68th minute and paved the way for Karim Benzema to go on and convert an extra-time penalty that sent Real through, with vast experience put to good use on the touchline as members of the playing and coaching staff put collective heads together.
How did Kroos help Ancelotti in Real Madrid’s win over Man City?
The 32-year-old had made little impact on proceedings prior to his withdrawal with 22 minutes left on the clock, but he was happy to help Ancelotti out when it came to impacting proceedings with big calls from the bench.
Kroos told DAZN afterwards: “The coach himself had a few doubts about who he would bring on and who not to bring on.
“We (Madrid's players) have all seen a few football games ourselves. That allows you to exchange ideas a bit.
“That describes him (Ancelotti) really well and why things always work well with the team. It's outstanding. In the end he decides, but of course he's interested in our opinion.”
While Rodrygo made the greatest contribution to Real’s cause, Ancelotti also saw Eduardo Camavinga impress off the bench.
Marco Asensio was another replacement to put in an energetic display, while Dani Ceballos, Jesus Vallejo and Lucas Vazquez were introduced during extra-time to help see things out.
How did Real Madrid pull off a stunning win over Man City?
Plenty have written the Blancos off at various points of their 2021-22 campaign, with a treacherous road to the final being trodden by the newly-crowned La Liga title winners.
They eased through the group stage, dropping just three points in a shock defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol, but have had to go through Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout rounds.
As they count down the days to a meeting with Liverpool at Stade de France on May 28, Kroos has said of Real’s remarkable battling qualities: “It's amazing, we were out 26 times during the knockout phase and fought back 26 times.
“It's sometimes difficult to explain, even for me, what happened in the last few minutes. That's the belief, that's the stadium, the combination is magical.”