Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos spoke to the press on Thursday morning after it was announced yesterday that he’d signed a lucrative long-term deal keeping him at the club until 2022.
A new long-term deal at the Santiago Bernabéu
How do you feel after signing this new deal?
“It’s a special day for me, it’s the kind of contract you’ll only sign once, or twice at the very most. I’m so happy to be here at the best and biggest club in the world. I’ve spent two great years here, with many more to come I hope.
“My plan is to retire here. I don’t sign contracts on a whim. It’s a six-year deal and I’m committed to playing each of those six years here. I’ll be 32 when it finishes and it’s a great opportunity to finish my career here. I can’t see myself playing as a 36 year-old.”
“I want to win the league here. It’s important to us. At Real Madrid you have to win everything. I’ve won the Champions League but I want the league. Sometimes we lack consistency and that’s perhaps why we haven’t won it.
Did you know in the summer that you’d be signing a new deal?
“Yes, but I never said anything because there will always be rumours. I’m very happy at Real Madrid – I have been since the day I joined – and I never thought of anything other than staying. I’m just delighted that the club sees things the same way.”
You now have the longest-running contract at the club. What does that mean to you?
“It’s clear that it’s a decision that both the club and I have taken with a mind not only on the past and the present but also the future. A long-term deal means that both of us are looking to stay together for a long time.
“I’m very happy. Since my first day here I’ve really felt welcome here. The love from the fans has been very special too. It’s also really nice that they value me so much that they announced the deal on a national holiday.”
Real Madrid's uneven start to the season
Looking at the team’s performances this season, how have things changed without Casemiro and Modric?
“Obviously things are different; they’re two very important players. But for me personally, my way of playing hasn’t changed too much. I play in a deeper role when ‘Case’ isn’t in the team but that’s it really. I enjoy playing with Luka by my side so it’s important that he come back quickly.
What do you make of the criticisms levelled at Zinedine Zidane?
“I don’t read the papers much and I don’t know what’s been said, but Zidane is invaluable for the club. We’ve drawn a lot of games, which isn’t good, and we deserve criticism. But there have been games that we’ve drawn that we deserved to win. It’s important that we keep playing as a team.”