Toni Kroos has admitted that life at Real Madrid “was not ideal” before Zinedine Zidane replaced Rafael Benitez as head coach.
Zidane was appointed in January last year after Benitez – now at Newcastle United – was sacked with Madrid third in LaLiga at the time and reports suggesting that senior players had become frustrated with the team’s approach.
Madrid have enjoyed huge success under Zidane, winning the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup last year, while they sit two points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand on champions Barcelona with just nine games remaining.
And Kroos says the former France international’s impact on the dressing room has been significant, telling UEFA.com: “When he arrived about 15 months ago, the situation was not ideal in the club, or in the team, but he changed everything.
“Zidane created a very positive environment and defined a completely different direction from the one we had followed. I love working with him because we have a very good relationship, we think the same way about the style of play, and he also gives me the feeling of being important.
“Since he arrived, the team plays much better than before. So much so that in the same campaign in which he took the reins of the team, we managed to win the Champions League. This season we are fighting for the two competitions [LaLiga and the Champions League], all thanks to him.
“He was one of the best players in football history, and that’s why when he talks, everyone listens to him. With his talent and all his experience, he gives us many useful tips on every situation and problem we face, and how to handle complicated situations on the pitch.
“He is always ready to help you and give you advice.”
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