Germany’s Kroos retires from international football

Germany’s midfielder Toni Kroos attends a training session on June 4, 2021, in Seefeld, Austria, where the German national football team attends a training camp ahead of the European football championship 2020-2021. — AFP pic
Germany’s midfielder Toni Kroos attends a training session on June 4, 2021, in Seefeld, Austria, where the German national football team attends a training camp ahead of the European football championship 2020-2021. — AFP pic

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BERLIN, July 2 — Germany midfielder Toni Kroos said today he was retiring from international football, days after the team was knocked out of Euro 2020 by England.

“I have played 106 times for Germany. There will not be another time,” the 31-year-old Real Madrid star wrote on Twitter.

“I had already made the decision to retire after this tournament,” he added, referring to the European championships which ended for the Germans when they lost 2-0 to England in the last 16 on Tuesday at Wembley.

“It had been clear to me for a while that I will not be available for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.”

Kroos said he planned in the next years to place his “full concentration” on Real Madrid.

“I would also like to be there more as husband and father for my wife and children,” he wrote.

“Due to the (international) breaks that I will get in the future, I believe that I can recharge my battery better,” he added.

Thanking supporters and critics alike, Kroos also had special words for Joachim Loew, who bowed out as national coach on Tuesday following 15 years in the job.

“He made me a national team player and a world champion. He trusted me. We wrote a success story together.”

Loew first picked Kroos for a friendly against Argentina in 2010. He went on to play a bit-part in that year’s World Cup campaign in South Africa when the Germans finished third.

Four years later he was a key component, playing every minute of every game and scoring twice in the 7-1 semi-final demolition of hosts Brazil, as Loew’s side lifted the World Cup trophy.

Kroos said he had considered retiring after Germany’s disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia, when they finished last in their group, but Loew talked him out of it.

“The trainer had to call more than once,” Kroos told German daily Bild, revealing that Loew’s replacement Hansi Flick had wanted Kroos to stay on after Euro 2020.

Kroos says he would have “loved” to have seen Germany go on to reach the Euro 2020 final and win “this one big title”.

“It was a great honour for me to wear this jersey for such a long time. I did it with pride and passion,” he added.

There had been calls to drop Kroos during  Euro 2020 after below-par performances in the group stages.

Yet the midfielder said the doubters only spurred him on, “thanks to all the critics for their extra motivation,” he wrote. — AFP

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