Fresh off a fantastic showing that helped propel Germany to a victory at the 2014 World Cup, Toni Kroos is seeking a new challenge at the club level.
According to Bayern Munich, Real Madrid have come to an agreement for his transfer:
DONE DEAL: Toni Kroos will make an immediate switch to Real Madrid after the clubs reached an agreement.— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) July 17, 2014
Sky Sports' Staff later provided a statement from Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge following the confirmation of the six-year deal:
We would like to thank Toni Kroos for his time here in Munich.
We enjoyed great success here together. We would like to wish him and his family all the best in Madrid and with Real.
AS on Twitter provided the first look of Kroos' new shirt and a quote from the German star:
Kroos: "Real Madrid are the best club in the world. This is a step up from Bayern".— AS English (@English_AS) July 17, 2014
Kroos, who had been a member of Bayern Munich since he was 17 (with a loan to Bayer Leverkusen during the 2009-10 campaign), was instrumental in The Bavarians' back-to-back Bundesliga titles, as well as their 2012-13 Champions League triumph.
Most recently, he made 29 league appearances (24 starts) during the 2013-14 campaign, finishing with two goals, four assists and a 91.9 percent pass rate, per WhoScored.com.
Operating from the central midfield, the 24-year-old established himself as Bayern Munich's orchestrator. Opta Sports noted a few impressive stats throughout the season, highlighting his ability as a distributor in the middle of the pitch:
1990 - Toni Kroos has received 1990 passes by his teammates in the #Bundesliga in 2013/14 - more than any other player. Go-to-guy.— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) June 6, 2014
Unsurprisingly, interest in the youngster began to grow at an exponential rate. When rumors of Real Madrid's pursuit surfaced, German legend Lothar Matthaus talked to Juan Castro of Marca.com about Kroos' ability to make those around him better: "Toni is very intelligent, he passes the ball brilliantly and he can shoot hard and well, too. Ronaldo and Bale can really expand alongside him. Robben and Ribéry have, in the past few years."
That was blindingly evident on the game's biggest stage.
Leading Germany to a world title in Brazil, Kroos tallied four assists, two goals and completed 84.8 percent of his passes, per FIFA.com. He was at the center of Die Mannschaft's now famous 7-1 shellacking of Brazil (two goals, one assist), his 605 completed passes were the most in the entire tournament and no one was distributing more often in the attacking third, per Opta Sports:
Kroos is a complete midfielder. His passing accuracy and intelligence make him most dangerous in a central attacking role, serving as the hub of the midfield, but he can also step back into a holding midfielder role in a pinch.
Best of all, he's very clearly still getting better. Real Madrid already have loads of talent, most notably Cristiano Ronaldo, but Kroos could be the piece that holds it all together and helps them take the next step.
As for Bayern Munich, they have the immense depth to continue chugging along as one of the best sides in Europe, but it will still be difficult to say goodbye to the burgeoning star and longtime member of the squad.