Legendary Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has revealed which is his favourite of his five Champions League wins and discussed when he might stop playing.
Kroos was once again ever-present throughout the campaign as Los Blancos unexpectedly secured a 14th European Cup at Liverpool’s expense in May.
That represented the German’s fifth Champions League success, having lifted the trophy with Bayern Munich in 2013 before subsequent victories with Real in 2016, 2017, 2018 and this year.
In an extensive interview with Kicker, Kroos revealed which of those was the most important to him – and surprisingly it wasn’t his first.
“In fact, winning the first title with Real Madrid in 2016 is the most valuable for me,” Kroos explained. “One of the reasons I switched to Real at the time was to win the Champions League with this big club.
“That was successful that evening. And this title meant more to me than winning the title with Bayern, because I missed the final with an injury. That was therefore only half a win for me.”
Asked whether Real’s back-to-back triumphs between 2016 and 2018 were a result of developing a very similar team rather than splashing huge amounts of money, the former Germany international responded: “I believe so, yes. The mix was perfect. Real has understood how to develop players and to buy them very cleverly over the years.
“This increases the chance of winning titles. Gareth Bale or Cristiano [Ronaldo] weren’t cheap. But the quality was right for them and they fulfilled the requirements in terms of team spirit.
“Just getting the most expensive players to decorate yourself with would not have worked. It would also not have been possible with players from their own offspring.”
When questioned on what motivated him to win titles at the age of 32, Kroos revealed he would stop playing when the fun stopped.
“You can only be successful if you want to,” he said. “If you no longer feel this will, then you can stop. I always want that feeling of winning every game. In every competition. That’s the basic idea at Real Madrid. Less is not possible and will not be accepted.
“If at some point the fun stops, I stop immediately. That requires respect for Real Madrid.”