Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos maintains Saudi Arabia criticism

The German's contract with Los Blancos ends on June 30, 2024

By Web Desk
February 13, 2024
Toni Kroos smiles during a press conference. — AFP

Real Madrid’s midfielder Toni Kroos maintained his criticism of players moving to Saudi Arabia due to the human rights violations in the country.

Kroos played in Saudi in January 2024 with Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup and the German was booed by the local fans every time he touched the ball in both matches.

The 34-year-old appeared in a press conference ahead of Los Blancos’ UEFA Champions League knockout match against RB Leipzig and he was asked about the reception he received in the oil-rich country.

"For me, it was a confirmation that I said everything right in the interviews," Kroos said of the boos.

In the summer of 2023, Kroos told Sports Illustrated that the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia was "the one thing that would stop me from making such a change".

"People say they play ambitious football there, but it's all about the money,” he had said.

With EURO 2024 three months away, there have been speculations that Kroos, who is still playing at a high level, may come out of retirement from international football to help his nation win the trophy at home.

"I still don't know what to do. I haven't decided anything yet. I'm very happy that people want me to play one more year, that's a positive sign,” Kroos said on a potential return to international football.

"I feel good but I haven't made a decision yet. Motivation is the most important thing. Having the same desire to win things as 10 years ago is important. If not, you don't get to 34 playing so well. Also, your body has to still work.

"I try to take good care of myself and physically I can play games every three days. Things work well and it's always better if it works out that way. The most important thing is to take good care of your body and to always have the same motivation."

Remember, Kroos’ contract with Madrid ends on June 30 and the club has asked him to renew the deal for one more year. Although the German is yet to make a decision, the likelihood of singing the new deal is very high.