I AM BACK!

Kroos’ last dance in the German shirt turns into a last adventure

Like a lost son rejoining his struggling family after troubled times, the 34-year-old announced a few months ago, “I am back, I feel I have to do it.”

In Summary

• Curiously, Kroos had to leave his home country to earn the appreciation he now receives after 10 years with the Spanish giants, following his noisy departure from Bayern in 2014.

• For a long time, his reputation in Germany was marred by criticisms of slowing down the game, earning him the nickname “cross pass Toni.”

Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos
Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos
Image: XINHUA

One of national coach Julian Nagelsmann’s significant achievements might be convincing Toni Kroos to return to the German national team.

Like a lost son rejoining his struggling family after troubled times, the 34-year-old announced a few months ago, “I am back, I feel I have to do it.”

Skipping plans to end his career with the Spanish “White Ballet,” Kroos plunged into one last adventure. “It crossed my mind how kitschy it would be to win the Euro title following the recent Champions League win.”

Ahead of the 2024 Euro, he not only solidified his status as Germany’s most successful footballer, with 34 titles including six Champions League wins, but also seamlessly assumed the role of team Germany’s undisputed leader.

Curiously, Kroos had to leave his home country to earn the appreciation he now receives after 10 years with the Spanish giants, following his noisy departure from Bayern in 2014.

Playing abroad in one of the continent’s strongest leagues, his unique value became evident to German fans as he slipped into the role of the Spaniards’ conductor, reading and steering the game with unprecedented precision.

For a long time, his reputation in Germany was marred by criticisms of slowing down the game, earning him the nickname “cross pass Toni.”

With three days until the tournament hosts’ curtain raiser against Scotland in Munich on Saturday evening, the returnee made no secret about his ambitions.

“I am still hungry. To play a tournament in my country with the perspective to win it made me return,” he said at the team’s base camp in Herzogenaurach.

He spoke about the “imagination in me that it is possible, that made me return. It wouldn’t have made sense otherwise.”

Kroos never spoke about late satisfaction, as his achievements seem to tell the story. However, when discussing the German team, many saw an imaginable smile on his face, enjoying the justice he had been missing for a long time.

Leadership, in his perspective, is to show “I am there” in tight situations “so everyone can feel well and isn’t restrained.”

A TV documentary series over months appeared like an image campaign, with fans exploring the numerous facets of a footballer seen in the wrong light.

Taking the Real “winner genes” to his struggling national team seems one of his most pressing challenges. Things seem to fit this time, as he appears to be the perfect link between established forces and upstarts in a newly formed squad.

Troubles are a thing of the past as Germany attempts to launch a restart free of the past’s burdens.

“A good start is vital,” he said, referring to the three previous majors in 2018, 2021, and 2022, when the Germans lost their opening game and suffered from two early group exits, causing an identity crisis in German football.

Kroos spoke about the responsibility of playing on home soil but mentioned feeling no burden.

A touch of the mythos of Real seemed to flow around him when he added: “It’s a matter of enjoying the pressure because that kind of pressure is a privilege.”