‘Kroos is finished as a footballer'
Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has launched a blistering attack on Toni Kroos, labelling the Real Madrid midfielder as “completely done” as a player.
Kroos has been one of the best midfielders of his generation and was one of Madrid’s most impressive players last season as they finished second in La Liga and reached the Champions League semi-finals.
However, he was part of a Germany team that completely flopped at Euro 2020.
Jogi Low’s team won only one of their four matches and were eliminated in the last 16 after a 2-0 defeat by England in London.
And Hoeness, who spent almost five decades at Bayern as a player, general manager and then president, has laid the blame for Germany’s struggles at Kroos’ door.
“The first two games in the World Cup qualifiers were pretty decent with a back four, then Low changed to a back three. It was completely unnecessary. Why? Low wanted to integrate Kroos,” Hoeness told Sport 1.
"If we had played with Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Thomas Müller in midfield, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane on the wings and Kai Havertz upfront, we would be in a completely different position today. I'm 100% sure of that.”
Is Kroos finished?
Hoeness believes that the 31-year-old Kroos is incompatible with the faster, more direct nature of modern football as he moves the ball too slowly and horizontally.
“I like Kroos, he showed world-class performances in the past. He was great for Bayern - but his way of playing is completely done. He no longer fits with today's football,” Hoeness added.
“We are 1-0 down against England in the last quarter of an hour, Kroos no longer crossed the halfway line. He played sideways, then sideways again, until the opposing defence had organized themselves
“Bayern players are super self-confident guys who had a big say with Hansi Flick. I know they were totally unhappy with the situation, with Low's tactics. Yet they accepted it. I don't understand, I didn't know them like that.
“They should have said ‘Toni Kroos no longer fits into this football with his sideways game. Our football is played vertically. The ball is played forward all the time’”.
How did Kroos respond to Hoeness?
Kroos was soon to react to Hoeness' comments with a sarcastic snipe of his own.
The midfielder referred to a famous comment Hoeness had made about Lothar Matthaus in 2002 by tweeting: "Uli Hoeness is a man with great knowledge of football (even if it wasn't enough for RTL), little interest in polemics and completely at peace with himself. Similar to his greenkeeper.”
Uli Hoeneß ist ein Mann mit großem Fußballsachverstand (auch wenn es für RTL nicht gereicht hat), wenig Interesse für Polemik und mit sich komplett im Reinen. Ähnlich wie sein Greenkeeper.— Toni Kroos (@ToniKroos) July 11, 2021
Kroos confirmed his retirement from international football following Germany’s elimination from Euro 2020.
He featured for Germany on 106 occasions, scoring 17 goals and 19 assists along the way.
In that period the former Bayern Munich midfielder hit the very highest heights with the German national team, winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.