Toni Kroos: Teammates pay tribute as German stalwart prepares for last Real Madrid appearance

As the curtain descends on Toni Kroos’s illustrious career, football is poised to bid farewell to one of its most cerebral maestros. His announcement to hang up his boots after EURO2024 came as a surprise, because while the 34-year-old label might have marked the twilight years for players of yesteryear, today’s athletes often extend their glory into the late 30s. Yet, Kroos has made the decision to close this chapter of his life.

This Saturday at Wembley, he will grace the pitch one final time for Real Madrid against Borussia Dortmund, in a match that also marks the farewell of his compatriot, Marco Reus

Kroos’s journey began in the heart of Germany, where he honed his craft at various clubs before departing Bayern Munich in 2014 for a modest fee of €25m. That investment, however, blossomed into pure gold. Over the past decade, he has donned the Real Madrid jersey 464 times, amassing a glittering collection of 22 titles. He aspires to add a 23rd this Saturday. 

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On the pitch, Kroos has been a model of precision and grace, while off it, he has charmed and provoked with his candid social media presence. Yet, the true measure of his legacy lies in the words of those who know him best. Joselu recounts: “He has treated me like a brother. He embraced me when I came, welcomed me; he has been very good with me this year.”

Fede Valverde reflects that “anything I say about Toni will always fall short. Playing with him was a dream come true. Off the pitch, he is even better. As a person, he is incredible,” while Dani Carvajal adds: “I would give him a 10 out of 10. No player would ever speak badly of Toni.”

These tributes paint a portrait of a man whose impact transcends mere statistics. Kroos has been a pillar of consistency (in terms of both performance and boot selection); a maestro whose elegance and intelligence have defined an era at Madrid. Whether orchestrating play with pinpoint passes or setting the tempo with calm assurance, he embodies the timeless adage, “nobody is faster than the ball.” 

As he prepares to bow out, Kroos leaves behind a legacy of excellence and a blueprint for future generations. His final act on the Wembley stage is not just a farewell but a celebration of a career that epitomized the blend of artistry and efficiency. Whatever the future holds for Toni Kroos, his essence as a winner, a leader, and a true servant of the beautiful game will endure, resonating through the annals of football history.


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