Toni Kroos is a hot commodity.
The 24-year-old German, described as the “complete midfielder,” is ready to leave Bayern Munich to seek a bigger payday.
But for now Kroos’ transfer drama is on hold as he helps lead Germany against Brazil in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup.
Here’s what you should know about Kroos, his career and what makes him a special player.
1. He Comes From a Soccer Family
Although Toni is the top soccer star in the Kroos family, he isn’t the only family member deeply invested in the game. Felix Kroos, Toni’s brother pictured above, plays for a team called Werder Bremen. Felix began playing soccer at the age of 6, and at 19 he was signed to Werder Bremen.
Like his older brother, Felix is a midfielder and shows a lot of promise. In 2007 he won the Talent Of The Year award in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It looks like Felix may follow in his brother’s footsteps.
Ronald Kroos, the players’ father, is also involved in the soccer world. Roland coaches a Hansa Rostock U-19 team. This club is thriving and has become one of the most successful clubs in Germany.
2. He Was the Youngest Player to Ever Represent Bayern Munich Professionally
Before playing for Bayern Munich, Kroos played for the club that his father worked for, Hansa Rostock. At age 16, Kroos joined the Bayern Munich youth team, but after just a year he was promoted to the senior team.
Not long after he was moved up, he was substituted in during a professional game. He made this debut at 17, making him the youngest person to represent Bayern Munich professionally. From that point on, Kroos made an appearance in many BM games, scored a number of goals and made many assists in his early career.
3. He’s Looking for a Payday
Rumors are spreading about Toni Kroos’ transfer from Bayern Munich, but his reps decline to come out with his final decision. The most talked about transfer options are to Manchester United or to Real Madrid.
Many speculate his switch is all about the money. Real Madrid has written up a deal that would offer $20-25 million a year for Munich’s midfielder. He is a very valuable player on Bayern Munich, but BM is reluctant to pay him what would be almost double his current salary.
It is almost a sealed deal that Kroos will transfer to Real Madrid after the World Cup; the $25 million salary may just be too good to pass up.
4. He’s Considered the ‘Complete Midfielder’
Toni Kroos is a player that is so sought after because of his skill as a midfielder. As a central attacking midfielder, he has the ability to stay back when necessary, but also to run the ball all the way up the field and into the goal. Kroos is well-known for his talent when it comes to assists. He has the ability to set up a ball perfectly and allow the striker to finish the goal.
Kroos’ skills include his ability to avoid an opponent by dribbling the ball around them at any time. His decision making skills are also quite impressive. In seconds Kroos can make a decision that will greatly benefit his team and help them win. He has been called a genius as a midfielder.
5. He’s Made 11 Goals & 26 Assists in His First 5 Years at Bayern Munich
From 2007 to 2012, Toni Kroos has made a great deal of important plays and his record of goals and assists make that clear. Starting from the age of 17, Kroos has made 11 goals, which is especially impressive for someone who isn’t a forward.
As an international player, Kroos has made 3 goals and 8 assists thus far.
Toni Kroos is strong in attacking, but his real strength is in assisting goals. Kroos made 26 assists in those first five years, and his ability to know exactly how to get the ball where it needs to be earned him the unofficial title “complete midfielder.” Real Madrid clearly saw Kroos’ skills as worthy of attention — to the tune of $25 million.