Toni Kroos (born 4 January 1990) is a German professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Germany national team.
A member of Bayern Munich’s first team at the age of 17, Kroos played in a 18-month loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen, before going back to Munich and winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the 2012–13 Champions League. After winning the FIFA World Cup in 2014, he joined Real Madrid on a six-year contract. In Madrid, he won the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League and was elected to the Team of the Season in all his last three Champions’. In 2014, he was elected to the UEFA Team of the Year and the FIFPro World XI, as well as the IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker.
Kroos is known for his passing accuracy, vision and his ability to set up goals, as well as his long shots and ball delivery from set-pieces. He has been described by Jonathan Wilson as “perhaps the archetype of the modern attacking midfielder”. Wilson has also described Kroos as “dynamic and hardworking”, and has praised him for his versatility, physical strength and ability to play in several midfield positions: in addition to his usual role, he has also been used in the centre as a deep-lying playmaker, on the flank, in a box-to-box role, or even as a defensive midfielder, due to his ability to both break up play, retain possession, and create chances for team-mates. Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes said in 2014 that Kroos, “a top-class central midfielder”, was the player that United most needed to sign.
Former Netherlands captain Johan Cruyff said of Kroos’ performances at the 2014 World Cup, “He’s doing everything right: the pace in his passes is great and he sees everything. It’s nearly perfect.”
He has also been praised by journalists and former professionals as a player with all the qualities for the role of an attacking midfielder.
Kroos was part of the Germany youth teams since age 17, and he was named best player in the 2006 UEFA European Under-17 Championship and won the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Ball. He made his full international debut in 2010 and was a member of the Germany squad which reached the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012. He was also part of the team that won the 2014 World Cup, becoming the first (and as of 2016 only) footballer born in East Germany to win the competition. Kroos was the Assist leader of the tournament, and was named to the 2014 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team and Dream Team. At the 2016 Euros, he was elected to the Team of the Tournament.