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08th May 2022

How Toni Kroos helped Carlo Ancelotti mastermind late comeback, from the bench

Daniel Brown

Kroos Ancelotti bench

Kroos looks destined for a career in management.

Toni Kroos has revealed that he helped Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti decide who he should bring off the bench to inspire their stunning comeback against Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final.

The German international was substituted with 22 minutes remaining, with Brazilian forward Rodrygo replacing the veteran midfielder.

Pep Guardiola’s side took the lead just five minutes later, which led to Ancelotti once again turning to his bench with Los Blancos requiring two goals in 17 minutes plus stoppage time to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

Substitute Rodrygo scored twice in the final few minutes to take the game to extra-time, before talisman Karim Benzema calmly converted a penalty after he was fouled inside the box.

Kroos Ancelotti bench

Kroos makes an impact – even after being substituted.

Speaking after Madrid’s incredible 6-5 aggregate victory, Kroos told DAZN, as per Goal, that he helped Ancelotti choose who should come off the bench.

He said: “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.”

Ancelotti’s big (and correct) calls.

After Riyad Mahrez had put the away side in front on the night, and 5-3 up on aggregate, Ancelotti opted to replace midfielders Luka Modric and Casemiro with Marco Asensio and Eduardo Camavinga.

Both players, along with Rodrygo, went on to play significant roles in the remainder of the tie – with all three substitutes involved in Madrid’s first two goals.

Kroos Ancelotti bench

Former Everton boss Ancelotti – who reached his fifth Champions League final as a manager, will now face off against Liverpool in Paris on May 28, in what will be the Italian’s third final in the competition against the Reds.

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