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Toni Kroos is now as big as Walter, Beckenbauer and Matthäus

Toni Kroos is now as big as Walter, Beckenbauer and Matthäus

Toni Kroos has won the Champions League six times and numerous other titles in his career. He is also a world champion, making him one of the greatest German footballers of all time.

Toni Kroos does everything perfectly, or so it seems. On Saturday evening, the 34-year-old won his sixth Champions League title in the final in London against Borussia Dortmund. No one has lifted the famous trophy more often than he, his teammates Luka Modric, Nacho Fernandez and Dani Carvajal, as well as former Real star Francisco Gento. It was also his last game for Real Madrid, for whom he played for ten years. During this time, he collected 24 titles, making a total of .

Kroos still has the European Championships to play in Germany, and then it’s finally over. It’s fair to say that Kroos’ timing in leaving is as brilliant as the timing of his passing game. He will retire after the European Championships at the peak of his career. Then, after 17 years, a professional career that is one of the greatest in German football will end, regardless of whether he adds the European Championship title to his impressive collection of titles or not.

A great footballer is not only defined by the number of titles

The question remains as to where Toni Kroos ranks among the greatest German footballers. Is he on the same level as Fritz Walter, Franz Beckenbauer or Lothar Matthäus? If you only look at the number of titles, you will not get any further in answering the question. Fritz Walter has only won five titles, including being German champion twice and French zone champion twice with 1. FC Kaiserslautern.

Those were different times. European cup competitions didn’t exist or were just beginning, there were no national or international Supercups or even a Club World Cup (Kroos won six of his 34 titles in this competition alone). Walter became a German hero because he captained the national team to its first World Cup title in 1954 and became an integral part of the founding myth of the Federal Republic of Germany. Walter was not just a talented footballer, he had personality and embodied an ideal image of the time.

The same applies to the recently deceased Beckenbauer, who won every major title. He was European champion, dominated the European Cup with FC Bayern in the mid-seventies and was world champion as a player and coach. In 2006, Beckenbauer organized the summer fairytale. Alongside Walter, Beckenbauer is the greatest figure in German football. Lothar Matthäus also ranks in this group, albeit a little way behind. The Franconian is the only German to have ever been voted World Footballer of the Year. That was in 1991. Before that, Matthäus, who was playing for Inter Milan at the time, had captained Germany to the 1990 World Cup. Matthäus, now a TV expert, never won the Champions League.

Career with a perfect final chord

And now Kroos. The Greifswald native is impressive due to the length of his career, his impressive collection of titles, his consistency at the highest level. He is one of the greats because it also depends on how you perform. Charisma combined with a certain edginess (see the derailed ZDF interview) contributes to this. His career was completely scandal-free and ended with the perfect final chord in London’s Wembley Stadium, which has not yet faded away – see the European Championship. Anyone who wants to understand the status the North German enjoys in Madrid only has to look at the pictures of his farewell in the Bernabeu Stadium last week. The fans of the biggest and most successful club in the world celebrated him like no one else had for a long time. Even the farewell to Cristiano Ronaldo was not as big and emotional. “Thank you, legend” was written on a huge banner in the stadium. At Real they knew much earlier what an extraordinary footballer Kroos is.

He is probably the most brilliant passer the world has ever seen. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” calculated that Kroos’ passing accuracy was never below 92 percent in the last ten years. In the last two years it was even over 95 percent. That’s almost genius status. Kroos also developed a certain competitive toughness in his later years. Rumor has it that he even tackled opponents.

In Germany, the country of complainers and know-it-alls, people would have liked to have seen these skills earlier. Instead, the derogatory term “cross-passing Toni” was coined for the passer. The young Kroos was never seen in the same category as players like Mario Götze or Arjen Robben at FC Bayern. That may have been the reason why they let him go in 2014 – as world champion. Kroos subsequently formed one of the best midfield lines that ever existed with his Real colleagues Casemiro and Luka Modric. From 2016 to 2018, Real won the Champions League three times in a row under coach Zinedine Zidane. No team in modern football has ever achieved that.

If Toni Kroos wins the European Championship title, he will achieve god status

It’s hard to imagine what kind of godly status Kroos would achieve in Germany if the German team actually won the European Championship. But that is still a long way off. One thing is certain: Kroos is not satisfied with the last few weeks of his career. “It would be wrong not to enter the tournament with the aim of winning the European Championship,” he said in London, looking ahead to the European Championship. “We are far from being favorites. But I know that when I play in a tournament, I obviously want to win!”

Sources: “, “”, “”

Source: Stern

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