Germany legend Lothar Matthaus has confirmed that Toni Kroos will join Real Madrid this summer, according to Spanish newspaper Marca.
Kroos has just one year remaining on his contract with Bayern Munich, but rejected a new deal after he was unhappy with the wages being offered by the German giants.
He was linked with a move to the English Premier League, with Chelsea and Manchester United declaring their interest in the 24-year-old. But fellow countryman Matthaus, who made a record 25 appearances in the FIFA World Cup, says that the UEFA Champions League winners that they have signed a great talent and congratulated them for adding him to their quality midfield.
"Congratulations to Real Madrid, they've got themselves a genius there," he said. "All the same, I'd have preferred him to stay at Munich. Toni is very intelligent, he passes the ball brilliantly and he can shoot hard and well, too. Ronaldo and Bale can really expand alongside him. Robben and Ribéry have, in the past few years"
Kroos is currently on international duty at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany, who are preparing to face the host nation Brazil in the semi-final this evening. He has played a pivotal role in his country’s run, and it was his free-kick that set up Mats Hummels to score the goal that took them through to the last four.
Should he join Carlo Ancelotti’s men, he will link up with international colleague Sami Khedira.
Since turning professional at the age of 17, Kroos has spent his entire career with Bayern while also having loan spells with Bayer Leverkusen, and has become one of the best attacking midfielders in the world.
He has already won all there is to win in Germany, with three Bundesliga titles and German cups as well as the UEFA Champions League. The midfielder has also amassed 49 caps for the national team, having only made his debut in 2010.
Kroos was Bayern’s youngest ever player when he made his debut aged 17 years and 266 days, coming on as a substitute and setting up two goals in a 5-0 win over Energie Cottbus. After making impressive appearances from the bench, Leverkusen signed him on an 18-month loan deal in January 2009 to give him more opportunities of first-team action.
He became a regular the following season – appearing in all but one Bundesliga game – registering nine goals and 12 assists along the way. His return to the Allianz Arena at the end of that season saw him become a regular starter, before he established himself as a first-choice player under former Bayer coach Jupp Heynckes in 2011/12.
The following campaign saw Kroos play a vital part in his side’s treble. He made 24 league appearances, but an injury deprived him of playing in either of the UEFA Champions League or DFB-Pokal final successes.
He returned from injury at the start of last season and enjoyed another successful campaign, which included scoring in the victory that won Bayern the Bundesliga title under former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
After impressing internationally at youth level, he made his senior debut in a friendly against Argentina in 2010. He was later included in the FIFA World Cup squad and made four substitute appearances as the Germans finished third.
Kroos also appeared from the bench through Euro 2012 in another run to the semi-finals, and has been a regular starter and key player in the build-up to and during this year’s finals. If the speculation is true, he will stretch the quality of Real’s midfield even further.