Just an hour before the start, Real Madrid announced 11 players were selected to start against Man City, and the German was not among them.

Toni Kroos will not play against Man City

Zinedine Zidane’s decision to not play Toni Kroos in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 ties against Manchester City raised some eyebrows at the time. Just an hour before the start, Real Madrid announced 11 players were selected to start against Man City, and the German was not among them. After the defeat of Los Blancos, Zidane explained his decision to put Kroos on the bench and leave him there for the whole game. “He is a crucial player for us, but today we decided this against this team,” Zidane said. “It was a technical decision. Nothing against Kroos. He’s doing well”. It was the first time he came to Real Madrid in 2014 that Kroos did not start a Champions League knockout match due to technical decisions rather than injury concerns.

A few days after leaving him on the bench, Zidane sent Kroos against Barcelona at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, and the German midfielder was one of the best performers. Following the coronavirus lockdown, Kroos has been key to Los Blancos’ efforts to win the LaLiga, and he is almost sure to start against Manchester City at Etihad. It is still not 100 percent clear why Germany international stayed on the sidelines in February. But in the return leg, it will play alongside Casemiro in the middle third. It is not yet clear whether Zidane will choose Fede Valverde or Luka Modric to accompany them.