World Cup stats: Why Real Madrid should sign Kroos ahead of Pogba and Verratti

Toni Kroos Germany

The playmaker, also linked to Chelsea and Manchester United, has been outstanding in Germany's run to the World Cup Final.

Real Madrid are in the market for a central midfielder this season, and a trio of young stars have been constantly linked to the Spanish giants.

Bayern's Toni Kroos, Juventus's Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti are all in the mix to become Galacticos this summer. However, a look at each player's stats over the course of this year's World Cup reveals that one young playmaker stands out above the others.

  TeamMinsTouches per gamePoss lost per gamePasses per gameAccurate passes per gameChances createdAssistsGoalsApps
Toni Kroos GER 569 100.83 15.00 83.00 75.67 13 3 2 6
Paul Pogba FRA 354 62.00 13.20 48.00 39.20 5 1 1 5
Marco Verratti ITA 132 67.00 6.50 52.00 50.00 3 1 0 2

Kroos's performances in Brazil have been statistically outstanding over the course of the tournament. In the six games he has played to date, the German has racked up over 100 touches of the ball per game and has averaged over 80 passes, far more than both Pogba and Verratti.

Considering he has created 13 chances for his teammates over those six matches, it is surprising that Kroos has only tallied three assists. He also added two goals in the 7-1 semi-final demolition of Brazil, a game in which he was the most influential player on the pitch.

Verratti only featured in two matches for Italy, but in those displays he was more efficient than Pogba - he had more touches per game and gave the ball away half as much as the Juventus man. Verratti also recorded one assist, the same number as Pogba, despite ony featuring in two matches.

Kroos and Verratti are both considered attacking playmakers, while Pogba is widely regarded as more of a box-to-box midfielder, equally adept at attacking or defending.

A look at the three players' defensive statistics, however, shows that the Frenchman has been quite unremarkable defensively in this tournament. 

  TeamPosTackles madeTackles wonBlocksTotal ClearancesInterceptionsFouls
Toni Kroos GER MF 12 12 0 3 2 4
Marco Verratti ITA MF 4 3 2 1 1 3
Paul Pogba FRA MF 3 3 0 5 2 8

Kroos, again, is the stand-out player when looking at these stats. He has won all twelve of his tackles in Germany's six games to date, and has committed just four fouls.

Verratti was also solid defensively over his two appearances, matching Kroos's rate of two tackles per game and winning three of the four he made. He also blocked two shots while the other two midfielders blocked none.

Pogba leads the trio in clearances, but his eight fouls compared to just three tackles shows that he still has to improve defensively. At 21, he is a very raw player with tremendous potential, but Kroos is clearly far ahead in his development.

Kroos signing for Real Madrid is supposedly a done deal - he will reportedly move to the Bernabeu for a paltry £20 million after the World Cup. His performances in Brazil have justified the Champions League winners' swoop for him.

German football legend Lothar Matthäus has labelled the 24-year-old a "genius", and the prospect of seeing Kroos line up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema next year is certainly a mouthwatering one.

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