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With Toni Kroos having agreed to join Real Madrid from Bayern Munich for €24 million right after the German World Cup triumph.

Many have questioned which side will benefit the most.

Toni Kroos and Real Madrid, a match made in heaven?Los Blancos, in keeping with their tradition of signing ‘Galacticos’, have acquired one of the most sought-after midfielders in world football, while their Bavarian counterparts received a more than acceptable fee for a player entering the last year of his contract. But what does this mean for Toni Kroos himself?

From a very young age, Toni Kroos was earmarked for success. In his days at Hansa Rostock, he was hailed as one of the most gifted German youngsters to emerge from any youth academy for quite some time, which inevitably lead to a move to the biggest club in Germany, Bayern Munich, at the tender age of 16. At the time the youngest ever player to take to the field for Die Roten, Kroos found himself shipped out on loan to Bayer Leverkusen in order to gain some first-team experience. After an immensely impressive spell at the BayArena, the young midfielder started to cement his place as a first team stalwart, contributing hugely to the famous 2012/2013 treble winning campaign, despite missing the business end of the season with an injury.

The question around Toni Kroos was always his big game temperament, though. Numerous high-pressure games had seen him disappear from sight or perform poorly, none more so than the disastrous Euro 2012 semi-final against Italy, in which he failed miserably in the task of man-marking Andrea Pirlo. Ironically, his worst performance of this past season came in the UEFA Champions League semi-final against his future employers Real Madrid, in which his lack of mobility and ponderous attitude on the ball was ruthlessly exposed. The midfielder had apparently learned from these experiences, though, and proved his naysayers wrong during a World Cup campaign which saw consistently excellent showings from the German en route to glory. Still, his future was up in the air, and it came as no surprise when the news broke of Kroos having signed for Los Blancos.

The saga started during the previous campaign, when reports began to emerge that Kroos was not happy with the contract extension offered to him by Bayern Munich. His yearly salary was the main issue, as the Bavarians continually offered Kroos contract options which kept him earning less than the likes of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer, while the player himself felt that his value was among the range of the upper echelon earners – Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and, most significantly, Mario Götze. Negotiations dragged on, and when Thomas Müller was handed a contract in the range of Kroos’ demands, it was the straw that broke the camels’ back. Was he justified in holding out for a satisfactory offer, or was he just greedy? If one considers that Ribery and Robben are on huge wages until they reach their mid-thirties, and Götze is already earning close to €12 million a year, it seems a lot more justifiable. Bayern Munich were never going to bend over backwards for the midfielder, for he never really integrated himself into the heart of the club and it’s fans as the likes of Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Müller and David Alaba had done. He always seemed slightly distant, disenchanted and almost businesslike to the point of appearing emotionless.

It might all be for the better, however, because Real Madrid looks to be the perfect destination for Toni Kroos. One could almost sense the fact that he arrived where he belonged as fans of Los Blancos euphorically welcomed his arrival at the Bernabeu stadium, similarly to what has been the case for legends like Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano. And, for once, it does not seem that Florentino Perez was needlessly signing a star just to improve his standing before the next presidential election, but rather a perfect fit for the club. With Xabi Alonso showing signs that his best days are behind him, and Asier Illarramendi having flattered to deceive since his big-money arrival from Real Sociedad, it seems that the stage is set for Kroos to become the fulcrum of this Los Blancos side for years to come. His peerless accuracy in the pass and ability to create from deep is unparalleled, and the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale will benefit immensely from this.

Carlo Ancelotti is a proven winner at the helm of this team, and his experience with players such as Andre Pirlo will prove invaluable in the integration and use of his new prized addition.

It really does seem like both player and club have found their missing link.

Originally published at inthestandsport.com

Post written by Marco Conradie, Twitter: @MarcoConradie10
for InTheStandSport, Blog: inthestandsport.com, Twitter: @InTheStandSport

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