19 | German | Midfielder | Bayern Munich
You must be doing something right when, at just 17 years of age, you make your debut in the Bayern Munich senior team. That’s what Toni Kroos must have thought when he lined up against German minnows Energie Cottubus in the Bundesliga in September ‘07. Putting in an impressive display, Toni set up two goals for teammate Miroslav Klose within eighteen minutes of the kick-off, an early hint of top quality potential.
Toni Kroos is one of a rare breed of player, one where you must have an eye for pass, a strong creative sense, the technique and ability to outplay your opponents plus bagsful of energy is a necessity. He is of course ‘the number 10’, the playmaker, playing just behind the front strikers, and patrolling the midfield area to make things happen. Soon after his debut, rumours were rife that Bayern manager Ottmar Hitzfeld had indeed promised Toni the number 10 shirt; and it was reserved for when Toni was finally ready to establish himself in the starting eleven full time.
The acne-ridden teenager burst onto the scene at U-17 level back in 2007 in the age bracket’s FIFA World Cup. He was very impressive; Kroos was awarded the player of the tournament, called the ‘Golden Ball’, and he also won the Bronze Shoe’ for being the third highest scorer in the competition. When he went to accept the accolade, it was presented by none other than Munich president Franz Beckenbauer, who whispered in Toni’s ear:
“Ottmar Hitzfeld will be happy about this.”
And indeed he was, as Kroos lined out for his Munich debut weeks later. The attacking midfielder’s record speaks for itself at U-17 level, averaging a goal every three games in his 36 appearances for the Germans.
Kroos is an amazing reader of the game, which is vital in his position in the middle of the park. He is more than capable of creating goal scoring opportunities, and doesn’t mind having a pop himself from time to time. He is incredibly poised, and if any chance to strike appears he’ll invite himself to shoot. He may not have a lot of pace, but has incredible amounts of energy and enthusiasm to benefit that. He has a sharp guile, a crafty player, and has a bit of tactical nous to boot. He isn’t too bad with the ball at his feet either, quite accomplished at beating his man when faced with those situations, and more than adept at passing, short and long range, as well as crossing the ball when he pops up in wide areas. But one of his strongest areas is his creativeness, and he has a remarkable amount of assists, advantaging striker Miroslav Klose in particular.
However things didn’t go too well at Bayern for a while. Not pleased with his progress there and lack of opportunities, Kroos publicly demanded a loan move away to avail of more guaranteed football, however it was debated in a German weekly called the ‘Ford’ that alienating such a superb talent is idiotic and hazardous for both the club and the player, and that Bayern needed to develop him now.
“The case of Toni Kroos proves that Bayern are thoughtlessly risking their resources.”
In the January transfer window of 2009 the player was loaned out to German rivals Bayer Leverkusen, where he played ten times and scored a single goal. Kroos has astronomical amounts of potential, and will no doubt be the fulcrum of a team in seasons to come, but question marks have been raised over whether or not that team will be Bayern Munich. Not a bad investment at just €100,000, and he may turn out to be a profitable outlay for Bayern, but there is absolutely no doubt Kroos will make his mark on the world of football some day.
Star Quality: ★★★☆☆