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LEGENDS Of The Game are Retiring in 2024

4 minute read Published May 28, 2024

One of the greatest midfielders of his generation and, indeed, history, is retiring. Real Madrid legend Toni Kroos announced last week that he’ll be hanging up his boots after this summer's Euros. The announcement came as a shock to many. Kroos has been an integral part of the Real Madrid squad that won La Liga and made it to yet another Champions League final this season.

It’s always sad to see legends of the game retire. While he’s not young anymore, he still holds an incredibly high quality and his position and style of play isn’t the most taxing physically. Still, it’s admirable to want to quit before you become surplus to requirements and to want to quit at the club you hold closest to your heart. 

Because he sure could continue, even at Real Madrid, but definitely at a lesser club. He’s also got a big enough name to be a prime candidate for a Saudi or American team. Secure one last, huge paycheck. It’s doubtful, however, whether the Saudi’s would want him after his statements and little back and forth with them when Madrid played there this spring. He’s been criticising the middle eastern country’s human rights record and was booed by the Saudi crowd. So, maybe not Saudi. 

Family Man

Kroos has been torn between the life of a footballer and a desire to be a family man for the last few years. He’s known to not travel with the team, instead opting to fly home straight after games on a private jet. He does this to be able to spend as much time with his kids and wife as possible. 

It’s also why he decided, after the 2020 Euros, to quit the German national team. Before this summer's one though, he’s back and Nagelsamann has called him up. It’ll be his last professional tournament, his last 

During his time at the clubs he’s won practically everything, and several times. Multiple Champions Leagues, Club World Cups, league titles, domestic cups. In total, he’s won 22 trophies with Real Madrid. This season, he’s won the league and the Spanish Super Cup. Of course, there’s still one pretty big trophy up for grabs, this Saturday.

He also won trophies in Germany, with Bayern Munchen. Two Bundesliga, one Champions League and two DFB Pokal. Having debuted at 17, the German national could have been a legend at the club but when his contract was up in 2014, the two parties were unable to agree on a new contract. That’s when he joined Real Madrid.

Other Notable Retirements

And Kroos is not the only legend of the game who’s retiring at the end of this season. Nine time Serie A champion and Euros winner, Leonardo Bonucci’s career has come to an end. The Italian centre back formed an almost impenetrable partnership with Barzagli and Chiellini at Juventus for six seasons. The latter of them, Chiellini is also reported to be retiring, but it’s still unconfirmed.

Another one is Joe Hart. The former Manchester City and current Celtic keeper ends his successful career with a domestic double in Scotland. Celtic won the league quite comfortably in the end, his third league title at the club.

Replacing Kroos

The good news for Real Madrid is that they’ve been hoarding midfield talent. While there’s no-one with the long range passing at the club, there are some fantastic midfielders that’ll have a hard time making the starting XI. Bellingham, Tchouameni, Valverde, Camavinga as well as Arda Guler, who’s coming through. Then there’s that one player too, Modric. So they should be fine.

Many players drag out their careers for too long. The adrenaline rush, the attention and the fast paced lifestyle of a footballer can be hard to leave behind. Thierry described retiring from the highest level at a little death. Having spent all your life doing one thing, at the absolute highest level, makes it hard to move onto something else. The player will never do anything at the same level again. It’s important to have something to move on to. Not all players do. Henry moved into managing and punditry.

Toni Kroos does have something to retire to though. He’s got his family. He’s got a beautiful house on Mallorca. He’ll be fine. 

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