Toni Kroos Talks Retiring After Real Madrid Contract Ends, Won't Play 'Until 38'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2020

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 01: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Toni Kroos of Real Madrid controls the ball  during the Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 01, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has said he does not plan to play deep into his 30s and will be nearing retirement when his contract expires in 2023. 

The German, who turned 30 in January, signed a four-year deal with Los Blancos last May.

He told Sportschau Club (h/t MailOnline's Jordan Seward):

"I'm definitely not a player who plays until 38.

"I still have a three-and-a-half year contract until the summer 2023. Then I will be 33. That's a good age to start thinking about what I want without having a contract that runs for four years.

"It won't be long then until the end of my career."

Kroos has been a key fixture in Real's midfield since he joined from Bayern Munich in 2014.

Despite still being relatively young, he's not particularly mobile, but his intelligence and passing range helps Real control games from midfield alongside Luka Modric.

Kroos was one of many players who endured a disappointing campaign for Los Blancos last season, but Managing Madrid's Matt Wiltse believes his performances this time around have justified his new contract:

Matt Wiltse @MattWiltse4

Thinking back on it, what was the first thing Zidane had the club do this past summer? Renew Toni Kroos’ contract. Many questioned the decisions made in the off season, but Zidane has been vindicated for many of them. The Frenchman always seems to be two steps ahead.

The midfielder has helped Madrid establish a three-point lead atop La Liga after 22 games and win the Spanish Super Cup. They're still in the hunt for the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League, too.

He has also improved on last season's goal and assist numbers. While last term he scored just once and created six goals for his team-mates, in this campaign he has four goals and eight assists to his name already.

Kroos' delivery is superb:

LaLiga English @LaLigaEN

He's got a glove in his right foot... 👌 🧤 @ToniKroos 🧤 https://t.co/uhhSvS7hSN

His goal against Valencia in the Super Cup semi-final, in which he scored direct from a quickly taken corner, was a particular highlight:

Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 @realmadriden

🎯 He shoots, no one looks, he SCORES! 🤩 @ToniKroos #RMSuperCopa | #HalaMadrid https://t.co/q8UgEy020a

The strike was the icing on the cake of an excellent all-round performance:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Toni Kroos’ game by numbers vs. Valencia: 95% pass accuracy 78 forward passes 3 chances created 2 interceptions 2 tackles won 2 shots 1 goal A timeless midfield display. 🇩🇪 https://t.co/nOAhAYNx2f

Real may hope to extend his stay in the Spanish capital further when his deal draws to an end, but even if they do, by that point he probably shouldn't still be a key player given he'll be approaching his 34th birthday.

Modric has remained a regular starter alongside Kroos and Casemiro despite turning 34 in September, but the club haven't made a central midfield signing of note since Dani Ceballos in 2017, and he is spending this season on loan at Arsenal.