Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has revealed the reasons behind his decision to reject a move to Manchester United - and hinted that, had he not joined the reigning European champions from Bayern Munich, a move to Chelsea would have been more appealing.
The Germany international, who won the World Cup in the summer, believes Manchester United are no longer one of the world’s top clubs after finishing last season seventh in the Premier League table. He feels that his transfer from the Allianz Arena to the Bernabeu was more of a sidewards move because of the respective quality of the two clubs, but believes that a move to Old Trafford would have been a step in the wrong direction, presumably because his chances of winning silverware would have been more limited.
Kroos: Four ‘great’ clubs in world football
Kroos has enjoyed a decent start to his Real Madrid career and expressed his delight to be playing in a team featuring the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in an interview with Die Welt. The 24-year-old confirmed that he chose to leave Bayern Munich because, after eight years at the Bernabeu, he felt he needed a new challenge - and is convinced that he made the right decision.
"I know what it means to play in a team with great individual quality," Kroos told reporters. "We all respect each other, the spirit is amazing.
"I was happy for the chance to do something new, I feel it was the right step. Madrid are a great club and were the challenge I sought after my long and successful Bayern career.
"Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona and Chelsea are the four greats right now. So I just changed one for another."
Moyes wanted Kroos - but did Van Gaal?
Reports earlier in the year suggested that David Moyes was desperate to bring Kroos to Manchester United, but that the move failed to materialise following the appointment of Louis van Gaal, who opted against making a formal move for the central midfielder despite having previously worked with the player at the Allianz Arena.
Van Gaal’s decision, made pretty early on in his Man United tenure, to end the club’s interest in £20 million-rated Kroos surprised former players and supporters alike. As did the veteran Dutch coach’s decision to pull the plug on a deal to sign Cesc Fabregas, who eventually joined Chelsea, from Barcelona.
United, instead, signed Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao for £29 million, and Netherlands international Daley Blind from Ajax for £14 million. They also splashed out a British record £59.7 million on Angel di Maria, who is currently playing on the left-hand side of Manchester United’s central midfield.