Kroos at Real didn't get along with Benitez at all IIRC so that for sure affected the better part of this season. I'd say internationally he's easily Germany's most influential player post-WC. He *is* pulling the strings for Germany now and I think it hurts Germany significantly that he and Khedira are used as a double 6 when both have instincts better suited to roles other than that. There tends to be a temptation to play players like Kroos (i.e. true central midfielders) or Khedira (i.e. box-to-box midfielders) as defensive midfielders because there's overlap and they are often more talented than genuine DMs but ironically both Khedira and Kroos would benefit from not partnering with each other but partnering with a legitimately more defensive player.