• вторник, 16 април 2024

Kroos to make Germany comeback ahead of home Euros

Kroos to make Germany comeback ahead of home Euros

Berlin, 23 February 2024 (dpa/MIA) - World Cup winner Toni Kroos will come out of international retirement and return into the Germany team for March friendlies and the Euro 2024 tournament on home ground.

But the 34-year-old also warned that people should not see him as "the saviour" for a team that has been ailing in recent years.

"Folks, short and sweet: I'll be playing for Germany again from March," Kroos said on Instagram on Thursday.

"Why? Because I was asked by the national coach, I'm up for it and I'm sure that much more is possible with the team at the European Championships than most people currently believe!"

The statement means that Kroos, 34, will be nominated by coach Julian Nagelsmann for the March games against France and the Netherlands.

Real Madrid's Kroos initially retired from the team after the last Euros in 2021 with 106 caps highlighted by the 2014 World Cup title.

He gave more details in the Einfach mal luppen podcast he runs with his brother, Felix Kroos, saying his decision was based on "very good discussions" with Nagelsmann.

"Julian contacted me and asked me if I could imagine it, which hadn't been in my head until then. The national coach calling and saying that I'm needed for the tournament in my own country is an incentive," Kroos said.

He added Nagelsmann's enquiry didn't leave him cold and was also "a great confirmation" of his current performances at Real.

Madrid team-mate Germany defender Antonio Rüdiger had suggested on several occasions that Kroos should return because he was still a world class player and could help the struggling team.

"I believe that many share my view," Rüdiger told Kicker sports magazine last week. "It is a home Euros, we want to have the best players there, and at the moment I see Toni as one of our best Germans.

Nagelsmann spoke of "an interesting idea" in December but did not go any further at the time.

National team sporting director Rudi Völler said that Kroos is "still a world-class player" who continues to show that he is "capable of great things, of powerful things."

Kroos won the 2013 title treble with Bayern Munich and many more titles with Real, including four more Champions Leagues. He remains a regular starter at the La Liga leaders where his contract expires in summer.

"Toni is irreplaceable, even when he's not playing," Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said recently.

Germany won just three of their 11 games in 2023 which has led to fears the team could also flop at the home Euros. They went out in the group stage of the last two World Cups and in the last 16 of the last Euros.

Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich said he would welcome a Kroos return because "I am always happy to play with Toni" but Kroos also warned in the podcast of too high expectations.

"Of course I want to help. But I am definitely not the saviour," he said. "You shouldn't think that this trick will make us the favourites. That's rubbish."

There are also sceptics, with former Bayern president Uli Hoeneß naming a return "quite a Titanic signal" and Germany's record capped player Lothar Matthäus expressing concerns regarding the balance within the team in an already loaded midfield.

"Where is he supposed to play?" Matthäus asked. "If you bring back Kroos you automatically weaken Ilkay Gündogan, also as team captain."

Photo: X

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