Tribal Football

Toni Kroos: Auf wiedersehen to a Real Madrid legend

Toni Kroos: Auf wiedersehen to a Real Madrid legend
Toni Kroos: Auf wiedersehen to a Real Madrid legend
Toni Kroos: Auf wiedersehen to a Real Madrid legendLaLiga
July 5th 2024 is a date that will forever be etched in the mind of Toni Kroos. Germany’s eternal No.8 showed off his skills one final time, in what turned out to be a 2-1 defeat against Spain in the quarter-finals of EURO 2024.

Throughout the 120 minutes of the match, Kroos touched the ball 102 times and had a 92% passing rate, the kind of incredible stat line the German produced so often. In the opening match of this tournament, against Scotland, he misplaced only one pass out of 103, for example.


Having decided to retire, Kroos also enjoyed his final LALIGA EA SPORTS game at the end of last season, on May 25th when he played in front of a packed Santiago Bernabéu in a Matchday 38 clash with Real Betis. As they looked ahead to the Champions League final, Real Madrid paused and took a moment after that league game to pay tribute to the man who has been so important in their midfield for the past decade.


Auf wiedersehen to a Real Madrid legend

Born in Greifswald, a small town in the north-east of Germany, it was fitting that Kroos’ final game came in his home country, as Die Mannschaft played in Stuttgart. Even if it wasn’t a fairytale ending, with this the only major trophy missing from his honours list, Kroos enjoyed a good tournament.

During it, just hours after reaching the quarter-final by defeating Denmark, he wrote a message on social media to mark the expiration of his Real Madrid contract and the end of his time in LALIGA EA SPORTS. He stated: “Today is officially my last day as a Real Madrid player. It’s strange, but I will always be a Madridista. I’m forever grateful!” The photos he posted included one taken at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu at the end of his last LALIGA EA SPORTS match, the game against Real Betis on May 24th.


Toni Kroos says goodbye to Real Madrid
Toni Kroos says goodbye to Real MadridLaLiga


One of football history’s all-time greats 

It was alongside Luka Modrić that Toni Kroos forged much of his legacy. Known for their skill and their leadership in the Real Madrid dressing room, they formed the backbone of the club’s recent successes.

Reflecting on their partnership, the Croatian stated: “Dear Toni, it is hard for me to write these words. The football world is sad because a historic footballer is leaving, and I must admit that I am also very sad. You are a legend of the sport and of Real Madrid. I enjoyed playing with you very much. It was a real honour to share Real Madrid’s midfield with you. You have qualities that make you a unique and special player, and there will never be another Toni Kroos. We experienced unforgettable European nights, many titles and the magic of the Bernabéu. We will never forget this golden period at the club of our lives.” 

It is clear that the man who wore Real Madrid’s No.8 for so long has left a legacy and an example which others will try to follow. Zinedine Zidane, his former coach, knows this more than most and said: “Toni Kroos is one of the best players in the world in his position. He won everything he could at Real Madrid, after he’d already shown at Bayern Munich that he was an excellent player. He has been at the top level for many years.”


The football world bows down to the Real Madrid legend

Casemiro, another former colleague, also explained how important the German was. The Brazilian once said of Kroos: “He is one of the most important players at the club because he manages the tempo. If Toni wants us to play slowly, we play slowly. If he wants us to play faster, we play faster. We play at the pace of Kroos.” Even opponents couldn’t help but acknowledge the midfielder’s greatness.

For example, Xavi said: “Kroos is the engine of Real Madrid. He has a way of playing that reminds me a lot of myself. He's like my successor on the pitch.”

Meanwhile, Paul Scholes praised the German by saying: “He is the best passer in the world.”

Another who was left in awe was Oliver Kahn, who said: “He is the heart of Real Madrid, as he can play the ball out quickly but he can also calm things down. He always stands out and makes few mistakes. He is indispensable in Real Madrid’s game.”

Finally, Pep Guardiola explained: “Toni Kroos is a very intelligent and calm player. The players who shout the loudest are usually the ones who hide when things go wrong. Toni is the opposite, he is the bravest of all in the most difficult moments. He is one of the best midfielders in the history of the sport.”

No matter whether he was playing as a No.10, No.8 or No.6, Kroos was always elegant on the ball, had exceptional vision, demonstrated superior intelligence and possessed the ability to unleash long-range shots or place pinpoint passes. In his LALIGA EA SPORTS career, he made 306 appearances, scoring 22 goals and providing 72 assists, and Johan Cruyff even claimed he should have won the Ballon d’Or.

His won six Champions League titles in his career, making his Real Madrid farewell especially sweet. In the 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund, the 1.83m midfielder provided a decisive assist for the opening goal, sending the team on their way to victory.

Over his career, Kroos progressed and evolved a lot from the player who emerged through the youth academies of Hansa Rostock and Bayern Munich, as he went on to earn 114 Germany caps and score 17 international goals. Now, as he hangs up his boots, Kroos will be missed, as he is an impossible player to replace.

He departs Real Madrid after a glorious 10 years, in which he won four LALIGA EA SPORTS titles. Kroos bows out as a one-of-a-kind player, the midfielder who showed that passes, rather than goals, can also be the ultimate measure of good football.