Toni Kroos is famed as one of the greatest midfielders to ever think about passing a ball, let alone actually doing it, and one stat from Germany’s 5-1 thumping of Scotland underlines that perhaps better than any. 

Germany – hosts of this summer’s European Championship – got the ball rolling with an authoritative performance against Scotland on Friday night, with Julian Nagelsmann’s side getting off to the perfect start. 

It took just 10 minutes for Florian Wirtz to find the back of the net, with Jamal Musiala doubling the lead nine minutes later, before Kai Havertz made it 3-0 before the break, Ryan Porteous sent off in the build up to that penalty. 

The onslaught continued after the break, with Niclas Fullkrug making it four on 68 minutes, though Andy Robertson and Co got one back via an Antonio Rudiger own goal on 87 minutes, before Emre Can completed the rout in added time. 

However despite not getting himself on the scoresheet, one of the biggest performances of the night came from the veteran Kroos who commanded the centre of the park like few others can. 

Toni Kroos (centre) was perhaps the star of the show on Friday night despite not scoring 

The German left the field in the 80th minute to rapturous applause after a stunning display

The German left the field in the 80th minute to rapturous applause after a stunning display

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Substituted to rapturous applause on 80 minutes, the former Real Madrid icon left the field with a staggering 101 passes completed from 102 attempts, according to Opta.  

The metronomic midfielder could be seen spraying passes out wide from his central position, recycling possession with short balls and kickstarting attacks with incisive through balls throughout the night, and Scotland will have been glad to see the back of him at last. 

‘He reminds me of Paul Scholes at times,’ said David Moyes on Match of The Day. ‘He reminds me of how Paul Scholes would pass the ball. He is an incredible passer of the ball. 

‘He was exceptional again tonight, his passes through the lines, his control of the ball, and very rarely could Scotland get close to him at all. 

‘It’s incredible, there’s very few players who can do that. There’s plenty of players who pass the ball three or four yards and don’t go anywhere – Toni Kroos goes places and always looks forward and gets his head up to play winning passes.’

For many football fans it perhaps comes as little surprise – which only adds to how impressive a player Kroos is.

In fact, he has never finished a LaLiga season with a pass completion percentage below 92, starting from 2014-15 all the way up until the season just gone, his last at Real Madrid.

In that time, he also never attempted 2070 passes in an entire campaign, making Kroos surely one of the greatest passers the game has ever seen, both statistically and aesthetically speaking. 

And if proof were needed that the German is still very much bowing out at the top of his game, Kroos managed a 95 per cent success rate from 2258 attempted in 2023-24. 

He has already announced that he will be hanging up his boots at the end of the European Championship

He has already announced that he will be hanging up his boots at the end of the European Championship

The midfielder has already announced that he will be retiring at the end of the Euros, at the age of 34. 

While he could undoubtedly continue to give more to the game – and has proven that he is still very much capable of doing so – he takes the decision to leave the game having won almost every piece of silverware. 

Six Champions Leagues, six Club World Cups, four LaLigas and five European Super Cups with Real Madrid, as well as a World Cup title with Germany back in 2014. 

It’s an incredible trophy haul and there aren’t many out there who can really rival it, though there is one notable omission that he will be looking to add this summer in order to truly rival the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi as the game’s greatest midfielders.   

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