2014 was a banner year for Toni Kroos, as he and his countrymen would win the World Cup, and Kroos would find his way from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid, in what would be a steal of a deal for Los Blancos.
Toni started his career with the Die Roten in 2006 as part of Bayern’s youth system. A year later he would be promoted to the first team, being the youngest (at the time) to do so, at 17 years, 8 months and two days. David Alaba would come along in 2010 to eclipse Kroos — but this isn’t about Alaba, it’s about Toni, who is one of the best midfielders on the planet.
When I say best, I mean world class. Who wouldn’t want a Toni Kroos on their team marshalling the midfield as cool as the other side of the pillow? I honestly don’t think the guy really knows what pressure is. He’s a workhorse for ‘Los Blancos’ and it's noticed when he’s not in the midfield which, thankfully, isn’t all that often.
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After the 2007/2008 season where Toni would score four goals and collect nine assists in 32 appearances across all competitions, he would be sent out on a 18-month-loan at Bayer Leverkusen to get more first team experience. During his first season with Die Werkself, he would only make 13 appearances, scoring 1 goal (his first in the Bundesliga) and an assist.
It wouldn’t be until the 2009/2010 season where he would gain a foothold in Leverkusen’s starting eleven. This would be Toni Kroos’s coming out party, where he would make 35 appearances across all competitions, scoring nine goals and a giving out a whopping 12 assists. He gave everyone a glimpse of what Toni Kroos could do in the midfield.
In the summer of 2010 Toni Kroos would return to the Die Roten, ending his loan spell with Bayer Leverkusen. With his return, Kroos’s status was unclear. He said: “I want to play as often as possible.” Upon his return, He would score his first goal for the club in a DFB-Pokal match, and would turn into a regular starter for the German side. He would end the season with 37 appearances across all competitions, netting two goals and eight assists.
In 2010, he would get his first call up to the senior German national team, and his debut would come against Argentina, in a friendly. He would be named to Joachim Löw's 23-man roster for the World Cup in South Africa. Kroos wouldn’t make his World Cup debut until the final group stage match, where he would be used as a substitute for the entire World Cup.
It wouldn’t be until 2011/2012, under manager Jupp Heynckes (his former coach at Leverkusen), that he established himself as Bayern's first-choice midfielder. He’d make 51 appearances across all competitions — scoring 7 goals and a racking up an impressive 19 assists (ten in the Bundesliga alone). This was the season that showcased what Toni Kroos was all about. The next season would be Bayern’s treble winning season with Toni Kroos being a major player in that campaign.
He would operate in a stacked midfield with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez. Toni would score three goals in the team’s first four matches of the season. He would get his first Champions League goal against Valencia in the opening group stage match.
Kroos would miss the rest of the season by picking up a leg injury in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal against Juventus. He wouldn’t return to fitness until the start of the following season. Toni would do Toni things that season, including a goal that sealed the Bundesliga for Die Roten in 2013/2014.
At the end of the 2013/2014 season, there would be a year left on his contract with Bayern Munich and had impressed Pep Guardiola. He had seen what they were paying Mario Gotze and in contract negotiations wanted the same parity. He was told by the team president that “You’re not a world class player”. See, he felt undervalued at Bayern and just wanted parity when it came to what Gotze was getting paid.
July 17th, 2014 is a day a lot of Madridista’s won’t forget, it’s the day that the club announced they had agreed to a transfer with Bayern Munich for midfielder Toni Kroos, who would sign a six-year deal. He would become the ninth German player to play for ‘Los Merengues’, following in the footsteps of players like Gunter Netzer, Paul Breitner, Christopf Metzelder, and of course, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira.
His reported price tag was around €25 million — hell of a deal if you ask me. When he was presented to 8,000 supporters at the Santiago Bernabéu, he said that Real Madrid were the “biggest club in the world” and a “cut above Bayern Munich”. He would make his debut for his new club in the UEFA Super Cup in August of that year. It would be the first of the many trophies he would win. He’s ended up being a key ingredient in Zizou’s midfield plan, playing alongside Casemiro and the legend that is Luka Modric.
He’s only been at the club for three-plus years now, with his four-year anniversary coming up next summer. Just thinking about how transfer fees have ballooned in the last few seasons, the price paid for Kroos seems on the cheap by comparison. And Real Madrid are all that much better for it.
In October of last year, Kroos signed a contract extension that would keep him at the club until 2022. It would not surprise me if he ended his career in the Royal White. I just can’t imagine him not being a part of Real Madrid.