Toni Kroos has said he is currently thinking about retiring from professional football when his current deal with Real Madrid expires in 2022, telling kicker: “At 32, you are past your prime.”
Kroos, 26, signed a long-term contract extension until 2022 last month and at that time told reporters that his plan is to retire at Real Madrid, adding that he is “committed to playing each of those six years” at the Bernabeu.
In a lengthy interview with German football magazine kicker, the Germany midfielder has now said that he could retire from professional football altogether once that deal expires.
“I will be 32 by the time my contract ends, and that’s certainly a point where I won’t have a long way to go as a player, or at least that’s the plan right now,” he said. “Sure, I don’t know how I’ll feel then, but there is no plan that includes playing football at 38 or 39.
“If I were to predict it today, it’s more likely that I’ll call it a day. But I can’t give an exact prognosis yet.”
Kroos cited the examples of his former Bayern Munich and Germany teammates Bastian Schweinsteiger, 32, and Philipp Lahm, 33, who both appear to be nearing the end of their careers despite taking different career paths.
“I think at 32 you are past your prime as a footballer,” he said. “There are differences. Bastian Schweinsteiger is struggling with injuries more often than Philipp Lahm. I think it’s important to have an idea and try to stay fit for as long as possible. But I’d say it’s a good age to retire. But I won’t necessarily be held to my words in six years.”
For now, Kroos is still in his prime as a footballer and has several career goals. He joined Madrid from Bayern in 2014 and has yet to win La Liga, although he has already lifted the Champions League.
“I finished second here twice in two years, and twice it was tight,” he said. “If you are behind by only one or two points after 38 matches — in which so much can happen — then it’s proof of just how close the race is here. But of course, we want to stake our claim to the title. Preferably more titles than in the past 10 years. It was good to win two Champions League trophies as a compensation.
He added: “It’s certainly not only my personal goal to win the league a few times. It’s very important to me.”
When asked by kicker which Real player he would pick for the Germany national team if he had the chance, Kroos heaped praise on Croatia midfielder Luka Modric and Wales forward Gareth Bale.
“Can I pick two?” he asked. “I’d take Luka Modric and Gareth Bale. It’s a lot of fun to play with Luka. We clicked from the first day on — we are people with similar thinking but a different playing style. We complement each other.
“Gareth is a weapon with his speed, his left foot and his headers.”
Earlier this month, Kroos was named on the 23-man shortlist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 but the midfielder is aware he has little prospect of winning the award.
“Sure, it’s nice to get appreciation from the outside,” he said. “But generally, I don’t think personal accolades are appropriate in football. I would not swap the World Cup title for any accolade. But I could imagine that quite a few would swap every accolade for a World Cup title.”
The 2014 World Cup winner, who is currently sidelined with a broken bone in his right foot, added: “It’s not important for me. I want to win trophies in the summer and not accolades in the winter.”
Culled from ESPNFC