Germany and Real Madrid midfielder Kroos to retire after Euro 2024
MADRID: (Reuters) Germany’s Toni Kroos, 34, will retire after this year’s European Championship, the Real Madrid midfielder anno­unced on Tuesday, adding that next month’s Cham­pions League final against Borussia Dortmund will be his last game for the Spanish club.

 “My career as an active footballer will end this summer after the Euro championship. As I have always said: Real Madrid is and will be my last club,” Kroos said in a statement on Instagram.

“July 17th, 2014 — the day of my presentation at Real Madrid, the day that changed my life. My life as a footballer — but especially as a person. It was the start of a new chapter at the biggest club in the world. After 10 years, at the end of the season this chapter comes to an end. I will never forget this exciting and successful decade!”

Kroos has made 463 appearances for the club since joining in 2014 and will leave as one of the most decorated players in Real’s 120-year history, winning more than 20 trophies.

Before the European Championship, Kroos has a chance to win the Champions League with Real for a fifth time when they face Dortmund at Wembley on June 1.

He also won the Champions League with Bayern Munich before joining the Spanish giants.

Kroos has also won the Liga title four times and won the Bundesliga three times with Bayern.

In addition to his titles with Real, the midfielder won the 2014 World Cup with Germany.

Kroos is in the final year of his contract with Real and in February announced his return to the Germany side after three years of international retirement and ahead of the June-July European Championship on home soil.

“I would particularly like to thank everyone that welcomed me with an open heart and trusted me. But especially I would like to thank you, dear Madridistas, for your affection and your love from the first day until the last one,” Kroos said.

“My ambition was always to finish my career at the peak of my performance level. I am happy and proud that in my mind I found the right timing for my decision and that I could choose it on my own.”

Kroos, who has racked up 108 caps and 17 goals for Germany, was one of the key players when they won the World Cup in Brazil and scored twice when they inflicted a 7-1 defeat on the host nation in the semi-finals.

But four years later he was unable to prevent Germany from crashing out in the group stage in Russia.

He did not play in Germany’s second World Cup group-stage exit in a row at Qatar 2022 but, after making his international return at Nagelsmann’s request, will lead a new-look Germany side at Euro 2024.

Real also issued a lengthy statement praising Kroos and his legacy with the club.

“Real Madrid would like to express their gratitude and affection to Toni Kroos, a player who is already part of Real Madrid’s history and who is one of the great legends of our club and of world football,” the club said.

“Toni Kroos will forever remain in the hearts of all madridistas for the excellence of his football and for being a player who has given everything for this shirt, always representing the values of Real Madrid.”