Kroos had to think long and hard about the decision: 'It gives me goosebumps'

Toni Kroos explained his decision to retire after the European Championship in his own podcast. The 34-year-old Real Madrid midfielder admitted that it was not an easy decision and that he had to think about it for a long time.

Kroos had to think long and hard about the decision: 'It gives me goosebumps'
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Earlier this year, Kroos surprised both friends and foes by returning as an international player, but on Tuesday afternoon, he announced via Instagram that he would retire as a professional after the European Championship in his home country.

This also means the end of his ten-year stint at Real Madrid, where he won all the major trophies in club football. Although the playmaker once again proved this season that he could compete at the highest level, he decided to call it quits. He wants to retire at his peak.

Kroos's decision marks the end of an era for Real Madrid, where he has been an integral part of their success. Over the past decade, he has played a pivotal role in the midfield, helping the team secure numerous La Liga titles, four Champions League trophies, and several other domestic and international honors. His vision, passing accuracy, and ability to control the pace of the game have made him one of the best midfielders of his generation.

In his podcast "Einfach Mal Luppen," Kroos explained that he thought long and hard about this decision. "And in the last few days, I came to the conclusion that this incredible season, my tenth season at Real, will also be my last season at Real. And everyone who has been paying attention in recent years has heard me say several times that I only wanted to end my career at Real Madrid. That means it ends here. But now I realize that it's easier to think about it than to say it out loud."

The decision to retire after the summer is a heavy one for Kroos. "If you get goosebumps when you say it out loud, then it's obviously special. If you, like me, started playing football at six and kept it up until you're 34, that's a very weighty decision. Especially when your focus has always been on football. That's why it wasn't easy to announce it. But the decision is made. I am now very happy on one hand and very sad on the other."

Kroos's emotional struggle reflects the deep connection he has with the sport and the club. According to German and Spanish media, Kroos could have extended his contract with Real Madrid for another year, but he postponed the decision about his future. His retirement is reportedly a significant blow for Los Blancos, who will miss his experience and leadership on and off the pitch.

His focus now returns to football. "Because I still have a big goal: winning das Ding (the Champions League, ed.) at Wembley. And playing a good European Championship with Germany is also an important goal for me. I am not thinking about the end of my career yet; I am still in the middle of it." Kroos is determined to finish on a high note, aiming to add more silverware to his already impressive collection and to contribute significantly to Germany's success in the upcoming European Championship.

England will play a friendly match against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Monday, June 3. Four days later, a match against Iceland will serve as the final test before the upcoming European Championship in Germany. These friendlies will be crucial for fine-tuning the team's approach and ensuring that the players are in peak condition for the tournament. The European Championship will be a significant challenge for England, with high expectations from fans and pundits alike. Southgate's squad decisions, including the difficult omissions, are all aimed at creating the best possible team to compete on the continental stage. The blend of seasoned veterans and emerging talents will be critical as England seeks to make a deep run in the tournament and potentially secure their first major international trophy since 1966.