What Is Behind Toni Kroos Retirement Decision?

Toni Kroos Announces Shock Retirement

Toni Kroos recently surprised the world of football with an Instagram post communicating his decision to end his professional career. The legendary midfielder will finish off his Real Madrid journey after 10 years, playing the Champions League final at Wembley. His final career appearance will come at the 2024 UEFA EURO’s with Germany.

The 34-year-old’s decision comes at an unexpected time to say the least. The 2022/23 season ended with some question marks over his future at Real Madrid after the 4-0 elimination at the hands of Manchester City in the UCL semifinals.

Thankfully, the club and Kroos did not part ways. Instead, this season has been one of his best in a Real kit. He has been the leader of the team throughout the season and performed at the highest level in every single Champions League knockout game. One could even say he has been outshining young starlets Jude Bellingham and Vinícius Jr. All of this begs the question, why retire now?

The Real Madrid Way

Under the leadership of Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid has always planned for the future, no matter the current success on the pitch. As painful as it may be for all parties involved, the club’s ability to consistently play at the highest level while rebuilding the team is proof that it is what is best for the club. Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Karim Benzema and now Toni Kroos and (potentially) Luka Modrić are examples of club legends Pérez knew when to move on.

A squad full of options in midfield with young consolidated players like Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouaméni, Jude Bellingham and if Kylian Mbappé arrives this summer, means the old need to leave room for the new.

Kroos Beliefs and Standards

The German has always been critical of the new wave of footballers ending their careers by taking the “money route,” evidenced by the hostile reception he received at the last Spanish Supercup in Saudi Arabia. As he expressed once again in his retirement announcement, he wanted to end his career playing at the highest level and leave behind a good final image. It seems after 10 years at the club he fully embraced the philosophy and wants to be the first of this era to retire with the white shirt.

Career Highlights

Kroos achieved everything at both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. During his time at the two sides, he won five Champions League, five UEFA Super Cup, six Club World Cup, 4 La Liga, three Bundesliga, one Copa del Rey, three DFB-Pokal, four Spanish Supercup and one German Supercup.

However, the most important trophy came in the summer of 2014 winning the World Cup trophy with Germany. Besides its glory and what it means to win for the national team his performance in Brazil, it became one of the main reasons for his transfer to Real Madrid later that summer.

Kroos will be remembered as one of the best midfielders of recent times and of Real Madrid’s prestigious history. A player that makes everything look easy and never seems to make a mistake. Someone who helped value the position of the central midfielder in a time of stats, goals and assists being the only measure.

He is admired by all his peers and managers like Ancelotti, Zidane and Guardiola. One of the legs of the tripod with Casemiro and Modrić that led Los Blancos to glory for more than seven years and can sit at the same table as Andrés Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets.

What is Next?

It will be hard to find a player like Toni Kroos in the future. Elegant, precise, smart and immune to pressure, able to sustain a high level for over 12 years – the German is one of a kind. It is difficult to imagine a Real Madrid game without him running the show.

Thankfully, we can still enjoy his football for a couple more fixtures. He will play his final games at the highest echelon of football with the chance of lifting the Champions League for a sixth and final time. He will also have an opportunity to attain his only missing title, the Euros, this summer.

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