Real Madrid will begin their knockout round journey in the UEFA Champions League tomorrow night as they take on RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.
Real Madrid are no strangers to Leipzig, having faced the Bundesliga club in the group stages of the competition last season. Back then, the Saxony-based outfit got the better of the Spanish capital club in the home tie, beating them 3-2.
Ahead of the game, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos spoke to the media and pointed out that the team lost in their last trip to the Red Bull Arena and are aware of what awaits them tomorrow.
“Now the good things begin. We’ve lost here and we know that a good and intense team awaits us,” said the midfield icon.
With the Euros set to take place in Germany this year, Kroos is being urged to come out of his international retirement and play in the tournament. When asked about it, the 34-year-old said:
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I haven’t decided anything. A lot of people want me to continue and I’m very happy about that. I feel good but I haven’t made a decision yet.”
When further probed about the possibility of him returning to action for Germany, the midfielder added: “I have to make decisions, think a lot about what I’m going to do. I don’t know if I will play in the European Championship.
“It will depend on how I feel, on my personal plans. I want to finish my career at the highest possible level. A year ago we had the same discussion. I am happy with that decision. I am enjoying the moment.
“I’m thinking about going back to Germany but at the moment I don’t know.”
Discussing how he continues to perform at the highest level year after year, Kroos revealed his secret, saying: “Being motivated is the most important thing. I have the same desire to win as I did 10 years ago, otherwise you don’t make it to this age. The body is very well and that’s the most important thing.”
On whether he is playing his best season at Real Madrid, the midfielder said: “I’ve played many seasons, it’s difficult to choose one, but I’m happy with my performance. The real season starts in March and April and let’s see what happens.”
Kroos also opened up on his role in the current team and how he has had to adjust some things this season, saying:
“We have played 4-4-2 several times, playing as a number 6. In recent years I wanted to improve defensively. Here we play very attacking but you also have to think about what happens when you lose the ball. With three midfielders you play differently.”
With his contract at Real Madrid expiring in the summer, the midfielder was asked about his future, to which he replied:
“I am not worried about my future. There is a possibility to make the decision a bit earlier. I will announce it when it is clear to me. I’m not worried about anything, it’s important for my future. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved and what I’m enjoying.”
At the same time, though, the midfielder ruled out the possibility of returning to his former club Bayern Munich, saying: “I’m not going back to Bayern, that’s for sure.”
Kroos also commented on the situation of his fellow veteran midfielder Luka Modric, who also sees his contract expire at the end of the season.
“[Modric’s case] is different because we are different people. It’s his decision or the club’s decision. I can explain my case, I can’t talk about him,” remarked the 34-year-old club icon.
On whether Real Madrid are the favourites in the Champions League, he said: “We are capable of winning it, but there are also other very good teams and one bad day can put you out. We always play the best games against very good opponents. It’s very difficult to be favourites, but of course we are capable of winning this competition.”
On how he looks after his body at the age of 34, Kroos said: “I’m more surprised by my head than my body. I started at 17 at Bayern at a high level and under pressure. I thought I wouldn’t last 15 years, I’m motivated. My body has given me few problems. My head surprises me because I said I wanted to retire at 32.”
The midfielder had been vocal about how he felt seeing young footballers leaving Europe for Saudi Arabia in the summer. And with more and more players expressing their unhappiness in the Middle East in recent weeks, Kroos remarked: “It was confirmation that I said the right thing.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo
Real Madrid do not want to pay ‘crazy money’ for top defensive target – Romano
As has been reported by multiple reliable sources today, Alphonso Davies is likely to be on his way to Real Madrid from Bayern Munich in the summer.
It has been suggested that the 23-year-old Canadian left-back already has a verbal agreement with Los Blancos over a transfer either this summer or in 2025, when his contract with the Bundesliga champions runs down.
Now, the idea is for Real Madrid to start negotiations with Bayern Munich over a transfer fee so that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached for the summer window.
Real Madrid will not pay crazy money
Amidst all this, Fabrizio Romano has come out with an update claiming that Real Madrid do not intend to pay ‘crazy money’ to sign Davies from Bayern Munich given that he will be entering the final year of his contract.
The Italian transfer expert claims that Real Madrid have been the preferred destination for Davies for a while now and that the personal terms between the two parties will not be an issue at all.
So, a summer move would now hinge on Bayern Munich’s asking price for their left-back.
Romano states that the Bavarian giants will attempt to tie Davies down to a new contract until May or even June.
But if the left-back, who is demanding hefty wages worth around €20 million, does not agree to sign, they will be forced to sell instead of losing him for free next year.
In that scenario, Real Madrid will be best-placed to sign Davies, although Los Blancos will not go overboard with their spending on the Canadian.