05.05.2015 12:42 - in: UCL S

      Three key Los Blancos men to watch out for

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      Juventus.com picks out pass master Toni Kroos, tricky customer James Rodriguez and Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo as the Real Madrid trio to keep tabs on during tonight’s encounter

      Over the years Real Madrid have dazzled their opponents with fantastic free flowing football and enjoyed plenty of success both at home and abroad.

      A powerhouse in the beautiful game, they continue to possess abundant talent in all areas of the field, seeing them gain the “Galacticos” tag for the excellent players to have donned the famous Los Blancos jersey.

      Despite not having it all their own way in La Liga in recent seasons, playing second fiddle to both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid finally won their tenth Champions League last year, defeating their city rivals in an exciting final.

      And the current crop of stars will be hungry to add to their haul this time around, as they try to become the first side in the modern era to win Europe’s elite competition back to back. But in order to make it to the final, one last obstacle remains: the Old Lady.

      Juventus.com analyses a trio who will endeavour to cause the Bianconeri problems during tonight’s semi-final first leg: World Cup winner Toni Kroos, future superstar James Rodriguez and top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

      Name: Toni Kroos
      Age: 25
      Position: Central midfielder

      German international Kroos pulls the strings at the heart of the Los Blancos midfield.

      The 25-year-old, who moved to Real Madrid from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich at the start of this term, is known for his passing accuracy and ability to set up goals. 

      In his role as a deep-lying playmaker, Kroos possesses outstanding vision and is a set-piece specialist. His performances during Die Mannschaft’s World Cup winning campaign saw the midfielder nominated on the ten-man shortlist for FIFA’s Golden Ball award.

      One for statistics buffs, Kroos has completed the most passes in this season’s Champions League (683).

      Name: James Rodriguez
      Age: 23
      Position: Attacking midfielder/Winger

      Speed merchant Rodriguez showcased his skills on the global stage during Colombia’s successful 2014 World Cup campaign where he finished with the Golden Boot award.

      The 23-year-old, who began his career in Europe with Porto before going on to ply his trade with the Bianconeri’s Champions Leaguer quarter-final opponents Monaco, has enjoyed an excellent debut season in Madrid, notching 16 goals and 11 assists in all competitions.

      Due to Los Blancos’ interchangeable formations, Rodriguez is able to cover many attacking roles and normally flanks the main striker out on the wing.

      Considered to be among one of the greatest young talents in world football, James, as he is most commonly known, is a fearsome dribbler and portrays excellent technique with his ambidexterity nature.

      Name: Cristiano Ronaldo
      Age: 30
      Position: Forward

      Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo is the player that strikes most fear into the hearts of opposition defences.

      The 30-year-old forward is renowned for his pace, aerial threat, flair in beating players during one on one situations and shot accuracy. All in all, he’s essentially the perfect all-rounder.

      After beginning his professional career with Sporting Lisbon, he signed for Premier League giants Manchester United in 2004 where he evolved into the great footballer he is today. Following six seasons in England, he joined Los Blancos for a then world record €80 million fee.

      Ronaldo’s time in Madrid has seen him become even more of a phenomenon: the fastest ever player to bag 200 goals in La Liga, he continues to score at remarkable rates and has netted 51 times in 42 appearances this season.

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