The quality has never been so high and there has never been so much competition. The World Cup record goalscorer Miroslav Klose was among the favourites and eventually came second while the German national team’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who could be named 2014 World Footballer of the Year on Monday, when he goes up against Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, came in third place. The winner of the title of German Player of the Year, published by the German national team’s Fan Club and powered by Coca-Cola, was world champion Toni Kroos. The Real Madrid star was the king of German football in the year 2014.“I’d like to thank the the national team’s Fan Club, the users of DFB.de and everyone who voted for me,” said the 25-year-old to DFB.de. “To be voted as the best German player in a World Cup winning year means a lot to me because it was voted for by fans from all over the world. Actually, I’m not really a fan of individual awards because we can only win as a team in our sport. Therefore, I would of course like to thank the whole team that has worked so superbly over the past year. For me, this year will always be a highlight in my career, as I won the double with FC Bayern along with the World Cup, then moved to Real Madrid and won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup. To be voted as Germany’s Best Player in a World Cup winning year tops it all off.”
This kind of award is always subjective. Who do you like best? Who is the most likeable person? Who has a special connection with the fans? It follows to try and find out objectively, what the followers of the German team felt subjectively and that was that Kroos was the best of the best. But why was that? DFB.de takes no half measures in trying to find out by using the following data.
Added time: A football match consists of 90 minutes and 16 matches add up to a total of 1440 minutes. In 2014, the German football team played 16 games and Kroos exceeded those 1440 minutes. In the last 12 months, the 25-year-old played a total of 1532 minutes for Germany, an average of almost 96 minutes per match. In order to do that, Kroos did not have to stretch time itself. The answer to the riddle is simple, the premise is wrong. 90 minutes is only a minimum in football, as added-on time is not included, neither is extra-time. In the World Cup Final against Argentina, Kroos played for 129 minutes. Against Algeria in the quarter-final, he played 128 minutes. Due to those long games, Kroos could allow himself to go off relatively early in the games against Argentina (71st minute) and Gibraltar (79th minute) after the World Cup and watch his teammates from the sidelines.
Precision work: His consistency is remarkable In 2014, he made 1544 passes in a German shirt, more than one per minute. His true art is shown in the next value: 89.73% of his passes reached their target. Kroos plays a lot of fast passes and he often takes risks, which is shown in the speed of his passes. A maximum speed of 49km/h and an average of 44km/h are values not achieved by a footballer who always plays the ball sideways to a player that is next to him. When he chooses to make a pass remains his secret but we have determined the average length of his passes: It takes an average pass of 18.36 metres for a Kroos past to set up an assist for one of his teammates.
Long-distance runner: It is also worth noting how many kilometres Kroos has ran in 2014 while wearing a German shirt. It is not quite the distance between Munich and Madrid but it is certainly a good chunk of it. Kroos runs an average of 10,947m per game and that adds up to 175,152m when you include all the matches he has played this year.
A personal advertisement: Kroos would have travelled further if he did not have the ball at his feet so often. Kroos was in possession of the ball a total of 1738 times in the 16 games, that’s a three-figure average of 108. For the last twelve months, there has been a remarkable coincidence concerning the number of times he has touched the ball and the year in which he was playing. In 2014, Kroos had control of the ball 4210 times. Both of the figures at up to the same figure: 7.
Well taken: Kroos didn’t only have the ball a lot; he also knew what to do with it. He often played in an attacking manner and had 37 shots on goal and was in the opposition’s penalty box a total of 72 times. He finished with four goals and five assists in the year.