UEFA Champions League Final 2024: Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos to Retire at His Peak

UEFA Champions League Final 2024: Real Madrid’s midfield maestro Toni Kroos is set to bow out of professional football after the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley.

Only four players at the team have played more minutes this season than him, which is one of the reasons Real Madrid is in the Champions League final.

UEFA Champions League Final 2024: Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos to Retire at His Peak
Football player Toni Kroos has announced his retirement from the league. @Hindustan Times

Toni Kroos refused to fall for the trick. He responded to queries about the World Cup final and the 2014 campaign in a cool, collected manner. Germany had won the World Cup. However, Kroos’ statement that now was not the right time put a stop to questions regarding his future. June 17, four days later, saw the announcement of the move to Real.

The agreement was reached well in advance of Mario Gotze’s injury-time goal, which broke Germany’s 24-year World Cup drought. Kroos consented to a move that cost Real Madrid just €25 million because he was reportedly dissatisfied with the salary Bayern Munich was offering him.

That adventure will come to a conclusion on Saturday at Wembley because Kroos believes the timing is right, following a potential 465 appearances, 22 championships, and “10 unforgettable years.” In his parting statement, he stated, “My goal was always to end my career at the top of my performance level.”

It would be hard to argue against that, no matter how the Champions League final versus Borussia Dortmund plays out. In his final Real Madrid home game, Kroos completed 59 of his 60 passes in the first half against Real Betis. He finished with a 94.5% passing accuracy and as the La Liga champion. It never dropped below 93.5 percent in the previous five seasons. In all tournaments, he played 3094 minutes of play. No one is 34 and only four played more.

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Only Kroos found room to thread a pass to Vinicius Jr. in Munich, and if Real are in the running for a record-tying 15th European title and Kroos an equalling sixth (he could join former Real legend Paco Gento alongside Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal, and Nacho).

The exact reason he is leaving is because no one wanted him to go—Bernabeu unfurled a banner pleading with the referee not to sound the final whistle. You may disagree with a lot of people on a wide range of topics, but you never challenge Kroos’ sense of time or spatial perception. Zinedine Zidane claimed he have “never seen him lose the ball.”

Nor, in fact, have a horrible hair day. Although Kroos’ hair style has changed since 2014, not a single hair appeared out of place in the photo taken during the Betis match when he is holding his son and appears to be staring into the distant with sparkling eyes. Similar to when he addressed the international press in the Maracana auditorium.

A misplaced back header by Manuel Neuer almost destroyed a flawless World Cup in which he and Mats Hummels, who will face off against each other on Saturday, had teamed to eliminate France, but Gonzalo Higuain missed and Kroos exhaled. and carried on playing as if that had never occurred.

UEFA Champions League Final 2024: Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos to Retire at His Peak
German midfielder Toni Kroos #08 of Real Madrid makes motions during a training session at Santiago Bernabeu (AFP). @Hindustan Times

Kroos has put in a lot of work, which is why he seems to make football appear easy. In a UEFA video, Kroos is shown racing down the left, cutting in, and flicking his leg over the ball like Ronaldinho would before firing into the top corner while wearing a No. 10 Germany shirt. In the 2006 under-17 European Championship. The tournament’s best player was declared to be Kroos. He continued to be such in the following year’s under-17 World Cup.

Thus, it made sense that Kroos, who began his career at Bayern at the age of 17 years and 265 days with two assists, would be a playmaker for both club and country. But Kroos had to adapt to Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti thought that Real Madrid’s attacking players made the midfield center a good fit. Similar to assigning Jude Bellingham a more challenging duty this term, Ancelotti made a change that paid off handsomely.

Luka Modric, Casemiro, and Kroos established a midfield triangle under Zidane that helped Real Madrid win the Champions League repeatedly.

However, it also meant that Kroos needed to improve his defense. Though he might not have the same skill set as Casemiro, Kroos made an intercept early in the Munich semi-final to keep Real from getting close to them high on the field. In the quarterfinal, he did monitor Kevin de Bruyne closely.

Kroos now plays from a position further deeper, frequently close to the left-back. Since Kroos can find teammates in any part of the pitch with his passes, playing from deep also makes it more difficult to track him. Former Germany player Stefan Reinartz said, “You could cover his eyes with your hands, and he would still tell you that on the right, 50 meters away, is Thomas Muller, and on the left is Mesut Ozil, 25 meters away.”

Ancelotti stated, “The Bernabeu gave him the farewell he deserved.” Kroos stated that he is solely thinking about winning the Champions League for the fifteenth time.

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