The esteem in which he is now held at the Santiago Bernabeu, or more recently the Alfredo di Stefano, was certainly not automatic.

The same suspicions that hung over him at Bayern Munich endured, that here was a midfielder with no major flaws but no obvious strengths, neither destroyer nor creator, hard to define and, at first, difficult to admire.

In Germany, there had been a deeper mistrust of character too, that Kroos’ lack of outward emotion stemmed from a lack of fortitude, an accusation regularly levelled at the generation that later went on to win the 2014 World Cup.

It remains the case that while Kroos’ standing in the world’s most successful midfield trio is unquestioned, he rarely enjoys the  kind of praise aimed at the likes of Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Casemiro or Luka Modric.

Modric and Casemiro have perhaps even contributed to Kroos’ devaluation, Modric the featherweight playmaker and Casemiro the Brazilian wrecking-ball, each of them easier to quantify than the surgical German next to them.

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