Toni Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid

By Sports Desk March 05, 2021

Real Madrid star Toni Kroos said he is planning to retire at the LaLiga champions.

Kroos has enjoyed great success since joining Madrid from Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich in 2014, winning three Champions League trophies and two LaLiga titles among 13 honours.

The 31-year-old midfielder has made 309 appearances for Madrid across all competitions – the most by a German player at the Santiago Bernabeu, surpassing Uli Stielike.

Reflecting on the feat, Kroos – who has scored 21 goals since moving to the Spanish capital – told Real Madrid TV: "It's something special. When you look at the Germans who have played here you realise that they are big names: [Gunter] Netzer, [Bernd] Schuster or Stielike.
 
"Overtaking Stielike, who is a club legend, makes me really happy. It's a special record and I'm delighted to get to this point.

"As I've always said, my idea is to retire here and that's what I'm going to try to do."

Kroos has scored two goals and supplied six assists in 22 LaLiga appearances this season, while he has made 31 appearances across all competitions.

Madrid are third in LaLiga, five points adrift of neighbours and leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of Sunday's derby.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid have not lost any of their three games at the Wanda Metropolitano in LaLiga (W1 D2), and remain the only team to have played in the new Atletico venue without losing in the league.

Zidane is unbeaten in his three away LaLiga fixtures against Atletico as a head coach (W1 D2) and could become the second Madrid boss to avoid defeat in his first four away derbies versus Rojiblancos in the history of the competition, after Luis Molowny in 1986 (W3 D1).

"I try to give my best in every game and every pass I make that doesn't reach my team-mate annoys me," Kroos added.

"I try to strive for perfection in this sense, although you can never be perfect.

"I practice it and I've been working on it continuously for many years."

Related items

  • Bayern boss Flick 'absolutely convinced' Mbappe will win Ballon d'Or Bayern boss Flick 'absolutely convinced' Mbappe will win Ballon d'Or

    Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick is "absolutely convinced" Kylian Mbappe will win the Ballon d'Or in his career.

    Mbappe was the star of the show in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie between Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain, scoring twice as the holders were beaten 3-2 in Germany.

    Should the 22-year-old score in the return fixture in Paris, he will become the first French player to reach nine goals in a single Champions League season.

    Mbappe has scored 33 goals and provided 10 assists in 39 games this season in all competitions. Only Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski (42) has scored more, while only the Poland star (50) and Tottenham's Harry Kane (45) have had more direct goal involvements.

    Ahead of the second leg on Tuesday, Flick explained why there is no doubt in his mind that Mbappe will one day be crowned the best player in the world.

    "He will win the Ballon d'Or one day, I am absolutely convinced of that," said Flick. "He has everything. He is fast, he has good technique and – most importantly – he scores a lot of goals."

    Bayern forward Thomas Muller also admires Mbappe and accepts the Bundesliga champions' system will always make it risky to play against the PSG attack.

    "He is very dangerous," said Muller. "With our style of play, space will automatically be created.

    "Neymar and Mbappe usually stay up front, they don't defend but they stay in a dangerous situation for a counter-attacking chance. You're never going to be able to keep them out of the game completely."

    Bayern had gone 17 Champions League games without defeat under Flick until PSG's victory last week and must now end a four-game losing away run against PSG if they are to progress.

    Only three of the previous 50 teams to lose the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie have gone through to the next round, but one such instance involved PSG, when they were stunned by Manchester United at the last-16 stage two seasons ago.

    "We had many chances in the first leg, but weren't so clinical. We have to do better. We know it won't be easy, but we will give everything," said Flick.

    "We know we have to score at least two goals. It will be a tough task, but these are the games we play football for. We want to cause a mini upset in Paris. Of course, we'll be delighted if we manage that."

  • Lewandowski back running again as Muller targets Bayern turnaround in PSG tie Lewandowski back running again as Muller targets Bayern turnaround in PSG tie

    Robert Lewandowski has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury as Bayern Munich aim to overturn a first-leg deficit against Paris Saint-Germain without their prolific striker.

    Lewandowski suffered damage to his right knee while on international duty with Poland in March, ruling him out of both games against PSG in the Champions League quarter-final tie.

    However, Bayern were able to provide a positive update on Monday, with the 32-year-old resuming running duties at the club's training facilities.

    In his absence, the reigning European champions were wasteful in the first meeting with their French opponents last week, resulting in a 3-2 loss on home soil.

    Hansi Flick's side had 31 attempts, the most in a single Champions League fixture since the start of the 2003-04 campaign. Their expected goals (xG) value of 3.8 was the highest for a team in the competition this season.

    Thomas Muller accepts Bayern must be more ruthless in the return fixture in the French capital, but he is confident they have the quality – even without Lewandowski, who has scored 42 goals in all competitions this season – to turn the situation around and seal a place in the last four.

    "We'll approach the game as we normally do," Muller told the media.

    "It's important to balance risks in individual situations. We won't be going all-out-attack from the off, but we will try to score an early goal.

    "We would be happy to have as many chances [as in the first leg]. We need to make better decisions in critical moments. We have done some analysis and I hope we can implement it.

    "Unfortunately, we have suffered a few injuries, but we feel we have the quality and are mentally capable of turning the game around."

    While Lewandowski is a certain absentee, Flick confirmed in his press conference that Lucas Hernandez, Jerome Boateng, Leon Goretzka and Kingsley Coman had all trained with the squad on Monday, adding: "We assume that those who trained can play."

    Only three of the last 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress, albeit one of those occasions came when PSG were knocked out by Manchester United at the last-16 stage in 2019.

    Bayern have been eliminated in each of the last four instances when losing the first leg, all coming in consecutive seasons between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

  • Pochettino unlikely to risk PSG duo Marquinhos and Verratti in Bayern return Pochettino unlikely to risk PSG duo Marquinhos and Verratti in Bayern return

    Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Marquinhos and Marco Verratti are unlikely to start the second leg against Bayern Munich as Paris Saint-Germain look to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

    Verratti, along with fellow Italy international Alessandro Florenzi, missed the first meeting between the teams in Munich after testing positive for COVID-19.

    However, the duo have received the all-clear and are back in training ahead of the return fixture in the French capital, with PSG holding a 3-2 advantage at the halfway stage in the tie.

    Pochettino told the media on Monday he is yet to decide on his line-up, with Marquinhos remaining a doubt due to a thigh injury.

    "We haven't decided the team for tomorrow yet, but it will be difficult for Verratti to start," the PSG boss said in his pre-game news conference. "Florenzi will be assessed further tomorrow."

    On Marquinhos' status, he added: "We will see how he feels tomorrow. In theory, he could be involved in the squad, so we will see.

    "I don't think he will be able to start, certainly, but he may be able to be on the bench. We will decide that on Wednesday."

    PSG knocked out Barcelona in the previous round 5-2 on aggregate, though were held to a 1-1 draw at home in the second leg following a resounding triumph at Camp Nou.

    Pochettino is well aware that the tie with Bayern – who he made clear are the best team in the world – is much tighter, meaning his players must find the right balance between retaining their slender advantage and also posing problems in attack for their opponents.

    "At home to Barcelona, particularly in the first half, we found it very hard to keep the ball, even with Verratti and Leandro Paredes in the team," Pochettino said.

    "It is not about individual names but collective attitude. We have to have a different approach from the Barcelona game while understanding that we don't just need to defend but also to keep the ball to attack and hurt the opposition.

    "This is the challenge that lies ahead, and once again we have a positive first-leg result to build on."

    PSG have won all four of their previous games in which they have hosted the German side in European competition, while only three of the previous 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress.

    Pochettino, though, is well aware of the size of the task the hosts face against the defending champions, with Bayern having gone 16 games unbeaten in the competition under Hansi Flick prior to the loss on home soil last week.

    "The Barcelona game is the past, Bayern are the best team in the world at the moment so they will certainly make it difficult for us," the former Tottenham head coach said.

    "We need the strength and ability to manage those moments, just as we did in the first leg in Munich.

    "They are world champions who have won six trophies in recent months. We are the pretenders and contenders to win the trophy. We have to consider all the circumstances surrounding the tie.

    "If we get through to the semi-finals, it will be a big achievement for the club. PSG want to win every competition we are involved in, but beating Bayern Munich, in itself, would be a big feat."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.