A national team legend feels that the Real Madrid star was a hindrance for his country at the European Championship
Lothar Matthaus has criticised Toni Kroos as the fallout from Germany’s Euro 2020 campaign rumbles on, admitting “I don’t agree with the way he plays”.
Germany suffered an early exit at the hands of arch-rivals England at this summer’s European Championship, losing 2-0 at Wembley in the last 16.
Real Madrid star Kroos was among those to fall short of expectations during the tournament, and has since announced his retirement from international football, which came as a welcome surprise to Matthaus.
What’s been said?
The former Bayern Munich and Germany defender felt Kroos was far too slow in his build-up play at the Euros, which ultimately prevented Joachim Low’s side from reaching their full potential in the final third of the pitch.
“Kroos is no longer international class,” Matthaus told Kicker. “Personally, I have nothing against Toni Kroos, but I don’t agree with the way he plays.
“At the Euros, you saw that it’s not just about the speed of the player, but also that of the ball.
“He actually does that quite well with one or two touches, but when he passes the ball, he loses speed again because there is hardly any gain in space and the pace is taken off.”
Who else has criticised Kroos?
Matthaus’ comments come in the wake of a stinging assessment of his international performances from Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness, who blamed the 31-year-old for Germany’s defeat to England.
“I like Kroos, he showed world-class performances in the past, but his way of playing is completely done. He no longer fits with today’s football,” Hoeness said earlier this month.
“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 organised themselves.”
Kroos’ Germany legacy
Despite the disparaging comments from two of his fellow countrymen, Kroos’ place in Germany’s hall of fame remains secure after bringing the curtain down on his international career.
The midfielder made his debut in 2010 and went on to earn 106 caps, scoring 17 goals while also playing a key role in their run to glory at the 2014 World Cup.
Kroos also picked up a third-place World Cup medal and played in the semi-finals of the 2012 European Championship, but has retired from Germany duty to focus on trying to win more silverware with Real Madrid in the coming years.