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Toni Kroos (German pronunciation: [ˈtoːniː ˈkʁoːs]; born 4 January 1990) is a German professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the German national team. Kroos plays mainly as a central midfielder, but is also used as a defensive midfielder or deep-lying playmaker. He is known for his vision, creativity, passing, and set-piece ability,[4][5] and is widely considered to be one of the best midfielders in the world.[6][7]

Toni Kroos
FIFA WC-qualification 2014 - Austria vs. Germany 2012-09-11 - Toni Kroos.JPG
Kroos lining up for Germany in 2012
Personal information
Full name Toni Kroos[1]
Date of birth (1990-01-04) 4 January 1990 (age 29)[2]
Place of birth Greifswald, East Germany
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[3]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Real Madrid
Number 8
Youth career
1997–2002 Greifswalder SC
2002–2006 Hansa Rostock
2006–2007 Bayern Munich
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2008 Bayern Munich II 13 (4)
2007–2014 Bayern Munich 130 (13)
2009–2010Bayer Leverkusen (loan) 43 (10)
2014– Real Madrid 156 (12)
National team
2005–2007 Germany U17 34 (17)
2009 Germany U19 5 (3)
2008–2009 Germany U21 10 (2)
2010– Germany 94 (15)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:59, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:46, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

Born in the small German city of Greifswald, Kroos began his senior club career playing for Bayern Munich, where he made his debut at age 17 in 2007. He was sparingly used, and quickly opted for an 18-month loan spell at fellow Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he became a key contributor, and returned to his parent club with an increased profile in 2010. Kroos then became indispensable for the Bavarian club, and was critical to several successes, including two consecutive league titles, a UEFA Champions League title, and two DFB-Pokal titles. He was also voted into the league team of the season three times, before moving to Spain to join La Liga side Real Madrid in 2014, for a fee of €25 million.[8]

In Madrid, Kroos became a vital part of the team under head coaches Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane, and he helped Real win three consecutive Champions League titles from 2015–16 to 2017–18, each time being selected in the squad of the season. He also contributed heavily as the club captured a La Liga title in 2016–17, when he was also chosen for the team of the season. Kroos was also voted into both the FIFPro World XI and UEFA Team of the Year in 2016 and 2017, and has won further championships, including five FIFA Club World Cup titles.[9][10] In 2018, Kroos was named German Footballer of the Year by a selection of journalists and the publication kicker.

After a successful youth international career, in which he won the Golden Player award and finished as top goalscorer in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in 2006, and won the Golden Ball award for best player at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2007, Kroos made his senior debut for Germany in 2010. He scored his first international goal in 2011 in a friendly match against Poland, and has since been key to the national team, appearing in every major tournament Germany has qualified for, beginning with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2014, Kroos led his country to victory in that year's World Cup, where he was the top assist provider and was selected to the All-Star team and Dream Team. He was also named German Player of the Year. At UEFA Euro 2016, Kroos was voted to the Team of the Tournament.

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Kroos first played for local club Greifswalder SC, later transferring to the youth team of Hansa Rostock. Kroos moved to Bayern Munich's youth setup in 2006. Kroos was missing up to 40 days during the school year due to training.[11]

For the 2007–08 season, at the age of 17, Kroos was promoted to Bayern's senior team. He made an astounding start to his Bundesliga career, making his debut for Bayern on 26 September 2007 in a 5–0 defeat of Energie Cottbus and twice assisting Miroslav Klose goals within 18 minutes of his appearance as a substitute.[12] At the time of his debut, Kroos was the youngest player ever to represent Bayern in a professional match at 17 years, 265 days old, a record since broken by David Alaba in 2010.

On 25 October, Kroos earned Bayern a valuable victory away to Red Star Belgrade on his UEFA Cup debut, coming on as a substitute in the 81st minute and providing an assist for Miroslav Klose and then scoring the winning goal, his first for the club, in stoppage time.[13] He made his first start for the club in a 3–1 defeat away at VfB Stuttgart.

Kroos ended his first season with 20 appearances for Bayern, including six starts. He also scored three goals in 12 appearances for Bayern Munich II in the Regionalliga Süd.

Despite being selected to start in Bayern's opening 2008–09 Bundesliga match against Hamburger SV, Kroos appeared less frequently for die Roten during the first half of the 2008–09 season. On 5 November 2008, however, he made his UEFA Champions League debut as a 79th-minute substitute against Fiorentina in matchday four of the group stage.[14]

Loan at Bayer LeverkusenEdit

On 31 January 2009, Bayern allowed Kroos to join Bayer Leverkusen on an 18-month loan to gain first team experience.[15] He made his debut on 28 February as a substitute in a 1–0 defeat against Hannover 96. On 12 April, he made his first Bundesliga start for Leverkusen, assisting the team's goal in a 1–1 draw with Werder Bremen. On 18 April 2009, he scored his first Bundesliga goal in a 2–1 loss to VfL Wolfsburg.

On 30 May, Kroos appeared as a late substitute in the 2009 DFB-Pokal Final against Werder Bremen, where Leverkusen were beaten 1–0 by a Mesut Özil goal.[16]

During the 2008–09 season, Kroos made 13 appearances for Leverkusen in all competitions, scoring once.

Kroos established himself as a regular in the Leverkusen team in 2009–10, appearing all but one of Bayer's Bundesliga matches. Between matchdays 16 and 20, Kroos registered five goals and four assists in five Bundesliga matches, earning him back-to-back "player of the month" awards from kicker for December 2009 and January 2010.[17]

He ended the season with nine goals and 12 assists from 33 matches.

Bayern MunichEdit

In the summer of 2010, on the expiration of his loan at Bayer Leverkusen, Kroos returned to Bayern Munich. When asked about his first team chances with Bayern, runner-up in the previous season's Champions League, Kroos stated, "I want to play as often as possible!"[18]

On 16 August 2010, he started against Germania Windeck in the first round of the DFB-Pokal, scoring the third goal in a 4–0 victory. On 29 October 2010, he scored his first league goal for the club, in a 4–1 win for the Bavarians against SC Freiburg. During the 2010–11 season, Kroos was a regular starter for Bayern in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League. He ended the season with 37 appearances in all competitions.

During 2011–12, under Jupp Heynckes, his former coach at Leverkusen, Kroos established himself as a first choice player from Bayern, forming a strong midfield partnership with national team colleague Bastian Schweinsteiger. He played 51 matches in all competitions during the season, including the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, where Bayern were beaten on penalties by Chelsea at the Allianz Arena.

Kroos was an important member of Bayern's treble-winning team during the 2012–13 season. As the most advanced member of a midfield containing Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez, Kroos scored three goals in the team's opening four Bundesliga matches. He also scored his first Champions League goal in Bayern's opening group match against Valencia. After sustaining an injury in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Juventus,[19] Kroos was unavailable for the remainder of the season, missing Bayern's successes in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, the 2013 DFB-Pokal Final and the last seven matches of the Bundesliga season.

Kroos returned to fitness for the start of the 2013–14 season and, played in the German Super Cup[20] and the UEFA Super Cup.[21] On 4 October 2013, scored his first goal of the season in a 1–1 draw against former club Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. He started two matches for Bayern in the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.[22] The first against Guangzhou Evergrande in the 3–0 semi-final win on 17 December 2013,[23] and in the final as the team beat Raja Casablanca 2–0.[24][25]

On 19 February 2014, Kroos scored his second goal of the season in a 2–0 Champions League win against Arsenal.[26] On 25 March, he scored in a 3–1 win over Hertha BSC as Bayern were confirmed as Bundesliga champions.[27]

Real MadridEdit

2014–15 seasonEdit

 
Kroos playing for Real Madrid in 2015

On 17 July 2014, Real Madrid announced that they had reached an agreement for the transfer of Kroos, signing a six-year deal for an undisclosed fee.[28][29][28][30][31] The press reported that Kroos had cost between €24 and €30 million.[28][32][33][30][34][35] Greifswalder SV 04, the successor to his first youth team, received €60,000 from the transfer.[36]

Kroos became the ninth German player, after Günter Netzer, Paul Breitner, Uli Stielike, Bernd Schuster, Bodo Illgner, Christoph Metzelder, Mesut Özil, and Sami Khedira, to join Real Madrid.[37] At his presentation in front of 8,000 supporters, he stated how Real Madrid is the "biggest club in the world" and is a "cut above Bayern".[38][39] He played in his debut match against Sevilla in the 2014 UEFA Super Cup on 12 August 2014, winning his first trophy at Real Madrid.[40][41]

He was part of a midfield trio with James Rodríguez and Luka Modrić that led Real Madrid to 22-game winning run late in the year. On 8 November, Kroos scored his first goal for Real Madrid in a 5–1 win over Rayo Vallecano, at home.[42] In December, he helped the team win the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup, leading the tournament in assists. He was named to the FIFPro World XI and the UEFA Team of the Year.

2015–16 seasonEdit

In 2015, Ancelotti was replaced by Rafa Benítez in Madrid's command. Benítez was replaced in the middle of the season by Zinedine Zidane, under whom Kroos continued to be a key midfield player. Zidane even mentioned that Kroos could 'mark an era' at Madrid, calling him 'the perfect signing'.[43] He was a regular starter when the team won the 2015–16 Champions League, his second Champions League trophy.[44] Los Blancos' triumph at San Siro meant that Kroos became the first-ever German to lift the Champions League trophy with two clubs.[45]

2016–17 seasonEdit

On 12 October 2016, he signed a new contract until 2022, and by the end of the year he was once again nominated to the FIFPro World XI and the UEFA Team of the Year.[46]

He scored the winning goal for Real Madrid in the 81 minute of the game against Celta Vigo as Real Madrid won their first home game of the la liga season by 2–1.[47]

He was a regular starter when Madrid won the 2016–17 La Liga and later defended their title in the 2016–17 Champions League. He became the first German player to win the trophy three times.[48][49][50]

2017–18 seasonEdit

During the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League, he made twelve appearances, when Madrid won their third consecutive and 13th overall Champions League title.[51]

2018–19 seasonEdit

On 22 December 2018, Kroos won his record fifth FIFA Club World Cup after his team defeated Al Ain FC with a 4–1 margin in the final.[52] On 20 May 2019, he extended his contract with the club until 2023.[53][54]

International careerEdit

 
Toni Kroos warming up for Germany in 2011.

Youth teamsEdit

In the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Toni Kroos was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player and also won the Bronze Shoe after scoring five goals.[55] Kroos' debut for the national U-21 team came on 5 September 2008 in a 2009 Euro U-21 Championship Qualifier against Northern Ireland and scored the opening goal in the 11th minute,[56] his second goal for the U-21 side was goal in Germany's 1–0 win over Italy, a precise long-range shot in the angle. It came as a surprise that coach Horst Hrubesch left him out of Germany's U-21 squad for Euro 2009, and Germany went on to win the tournament without him.[57]

2010 World CupEdit

In January 2010, Kroos was called up to the senior Germany team for the first time, for a training session in Sindelfingen[58] and was named in the squad for the following match, a friendly against Argentina on 3 March 2010, in which he subsequently made his debut for the national side.[59]

Kroos was selected to Joachim Löw's 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He made his FIFA World Cup debut in Germany's final group-stage match versus Ghana, coming on in the 80th minute for Bastian Schweinsteiger, with Germany leading 1–0. He made further appearances as a substitute in the quarter-finals against Argentina, in the semi-finals against Spain and in the third place play-off against Uruguay.

Euro 2012Edit

 
Kroos (left) battles Julian Baumgartlinger for the ball in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match against Austria in Vienna (Ernst-Happel-Stadion).

Kroos established himself as a regular starter in Germany's qualification campaign for UEFA Euro 2012, playing in eight out of a possible ten games. Germany won all ten qualifying matches to top group A. After qualification was already ensured, Kroos scored his first two international goals, both with his strong right foot. Notably, both Kroos' goals were Germany's first after falling behind in the respective matches, both of which were drawn away friendlies, against the two Euro 2012 hosts – Poland and Ukraine. National coach Joachim Löw also praised him: "How Toni distributes the ball, how he receives it, is very good. He's technically excellent ... He has made progress in the last few matches, I'm extremely satisfied with the player."[60]

At the tournament finals, Kroos appeared as a substitute in all three of Germany's Group B matches. For the semi-final match against Italy, Löw selected the naturally attacking Kroos to man mark Italy's playmaker Andrea Pirlo. The decision was heavily criticised as Germany lost the match 2–1.[61][62]

2014 World CupEdit

During Germany's 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, Kroos scored his first two competitive international goals in a 6–1 win over the Republic of Ireland in Dublin. On 6 September 2013, he scored the team's second goal in a 3–0 win over Austria.

Kroos was named in Germany's squad for the 2014 World Cup.[63] In the team's opening match, a 4–0 defeat of Portugal, Kroos started in midfield and assisted Mats Hummels for Germany's second goal.[64] Then in the quarter final the only goal scored by Mats Hummels against France came from his free kick.[65] In the semi-final against the host nation Brazil, Kroos scored two goals two minutes apart (24' and 26') in Germany's 7–1 win.[66] He also recorded his fourth assist of the tournament, crossing for Thomas Müller's opening goal, and was named man of the match by FIFA.[67] Kroos has been nicknamed Garçom ("waiter" in Portuguese) by the Brazilians for precisely delivering most passes to the strikers.[68]

On 11 July, Kroos was named on the ten-man shortlist for FIFA's Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player.[69]

The Castrol Performance Index, the official statistical analyser of the World Cup, rated Kroos as the best player at the 2014 World Cup, with a rating of 9.79 out of 10.[70]

Kroos is considered the only player from the former German Democratic Republic to ever win the World Cup.[71]

2018 World CupEdit

On 4 June 2018, Kroos was included in Germany's final 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[72] On 23 June, Kroos scored from a free-kick in stoppage time against Sweden to resurrect Germany's World Cup hopes with a 2–1 victory.[73] But in their next and last group stage match, his side were knocked out by South Korea after losing 2–0 four days later.[74]

Style of playEdit

"How Toni distributes the ball, how he receives it, is very good. He's technically excellent ... He has made progress in the last few matches, I'm extremely satisfied with the player."

Joachim Löw, Manager of the Germany National Football Team[75]

A tall and athletic right-footed midfielder, Kroos is known for the range and accuracy of his distribution with either foot, his technique, vision, creativity, reading of the game, and his ability to dictate play in midfield or set up goals with his passing and ball delivery from set-pieces; he is also capable of scoring goals himself, courtesy of his striking ability – in particular from long range – and his accuracy from free kicks.[76][77][78][79][80] He has been described by Jonathan Wilson as "perhaps the archetype of the modern attacking midfielder". Wilson has also described Kroos as "dynamic and hardworking", and has praised him for his versatility, physical strength and ability to play in several midfield positions: in addition to his usual role, he has also been used in the centre as a deep-lying playmaker, on the flank, in a box-to-box role, or even as a defensive midfielder, due to his ability to both break up play, retain possession, and create chances for teammates.[4][81][82] Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes said in 2014 that Kroos, "a top-class central midfielder", was the player that United most needed to sign.[5]

Former Netherlands captain Johan Cruyff said of Kroos' performances at the 2014 World Cup, "He's doing everything right: the pace in his passes is great and he sees everything. It's nearly perfect."[83]

Personal lifeEdit

Kroos was born in Greifswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, on 4 January 1990.[31] He has a younger brother, Felix Kroos, who is also a professional footballer.[11] His father Roland works as youth coach for Hansa Rostock.[11] During his youth, he was a mediocre student and spent a lot of time practicing football,[11] however, he was well-behaved in class and well liked among his peers at school.[11]

Kroos married his long-term girlfriend Jessica Farber on 13 June 2015. They have a son, Leon (born 14 August 2013),[84] and daughter, Amelie (born on 20 July 2016).[85] He owns a house on the island of Mallorca.[28][86]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of 18 September 2019
Club Season League Cup Continental Other1 Total Ref.
League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Bayern Munich II 2007–08 Regionalliga Süd 12 3 12 3 [87]
2008–09 3. Liga 1 1 1 1 [88]
Total 13 4 13 4
Bayern Munich 2007–08 Bundesliga 12 0 2 0 6 1 20 1 [87]
2008–09 7 0 1 1 1 0 9 1 [88]
Bayer Leverkusen (loan) 2008–09 10 1 3 0 13 1 [88]
2009–10 33 9 2 0 35 9 [89]
Total 43 10 5 0 48 10
Bayern Munich 2010–11 Bundesliga 27 1 3 1 7 1 37 3 [90]
2011–12 31 4 6 1 14 2 51 7 [91]
2012–13 24 6 3 0 9 3 1 0 37 9 [92][93]
2013–14 29 2 6 1 12 1 4 0 51 4 [22][94]
Munich total 130 13 21 4 49 8 5 0 205 25
Real Madrid 2014–15 La Liga 36 2 2 0 12 0 5 0 55 2 [22]
2015–16 32 1 0 0 12 0 44 1 [22]
2016–17 29 3 5 0 12 1 2 0 48 4 [22]
2017–18 27 5 0 0 12 0 4 0 43 5 [22]
2018–19 28 0 4 0 8 1 3 0 43 1 [22]
2019–20 4 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 5 1 [22]
Total 156 12 11 0 57 2 14 0 238 14
Career totals 342 39 37 4 106 10 19 0 504 53

InternationalEdit

As of match played 9 September 2019
Country Season Competitive Friendlies Total Ref
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Germany 2009–10 4 0 4 0 8 0 [95]
2010–11 8 0 4 0 12 0 [95]
2011–12 4 0 6 2 10 2 [95]
2012–13 7 3 2 0 9 3 [95]
2013–14 7 2 5 0 12 2 [95]
2014–15 9 1 2 1 11 2 [95]
2015–16 6 0 3 2 9 2 [95]
2016–17 4 1 1 0 5 1 [95]
2017–18 6 1 4 0 10 1 [95]
2018–19 4 1 2 0 6 1 [95]
2019–20 2 1 0 0 1 1 [95]
Career total 61 10 33 5 94 15 [95]

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Germany's goal tally first:[96]
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 6 September 2011 PGE Arena Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland   Poland 1–1 2–2 Friendly
2. 11 November 2011 Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kiev, Ukraine   Ukraine 1–2 3–3
3. 12 October 2012 Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland   Republic of Ireland 5–0 6–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. 6–0
5. 6 September 2013 Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany   Austria 2–0 3–0
6. 8 July 2014 Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil   Brazil 3–0 7–1 2014 FIFA World Cup
7. 4–0
8. 14 October 2014 Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany   Republic of Ireland 1–0 1–1 UEFA Euro 2016 qualification
9. 18 November 2014 Estadio de Balaídos, Vigo, Spain   Spain 1–0 1–0 Friendly
10. 26 March 2016 Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany   England 1–0 2–3
11. 29 March 2016 Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany   Italy 1–0 4–1
12. 8 October 2016 Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany   Czech Republic 2–0 3–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
13. 23 June 2018 Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia   Sweden 2–1 2–1 2018 FIFA World Cup
14. 16 October 2018 Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France   France 1–0 1–2 2018–19 UEFA Nations League A
15. 6 September 2019 Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany   Netherlands 2–2 2–4 UEFA Euro 2020 qualification

HonoursEdit

Bayern Munich[97]

Real Madrid[98]

Germany

Individual

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit