Toni Kroos: "I would have kept Lopetegui; he just had a shit moment"
The Real Madrid midfielder revealed that he believed Julen Lopetegui did not deserve to be sacked and stated he would have kept him on had it been his decision.
Toni Kroos always is always one to speak frankly and in his latest interview, the German midfielder revealed his sympathy for Julen Lopetegui and how his Real Madrid dismissal had hurt him personally.
Lopetegui took over after Zinedine Zidane resigned in May 2018 to bring an end to his first tenure as Madrid coach. But several bad results, culminating with a 5-1 defeat to Barcelona at the end of October 2018, saw Lopetegui sacked after just four months in the job. But according to Kroos, the Spanish coach was the victim of bad luck and arrived at the club at a difficult moment.
“Lopetegui's dismissal was the one that hurt me the most personally because he is a first-rate coach and person. He just had a shit moment when he became a coach here. I was very happy for him when he won the Europa League with Sevilla. He deserved it,” the Real Madrid midfielder said in an interview on German podcast Einfach mal Luppen.
It’s not the first time that Kroos has expressed his sympathies over Lopetegui’s dismissal, with the German international saying in 2019 that he thought that the former Spain coach “did a great job but he was unlucky and if he doesn't get results it's not good for the club.”
Kroos would not have fired Lopetegui
In the Einfach mal Luppen podcast, Kroos also revealed that if the decision had been his, he would not have fired Lopetegui despite the bad results, emphasising his wisdom as a coach.
"Jessy (Kroos’ wife) did not stop asking at home: ‘Hey come on, what's up?’ And I told her that I felt very sorry [for Lopetegui] and that I would have kept him because I was convinced by him.”
The 2014 World Cup winner also stressed that Lopetegui took over at the worst moment to become Real Madrid coach. "He comes to Madrid the year after the three Champions League title and Cristiano leaving. It was clear that it was not going to be an easy year," said Kroos.
He added: "Honestly, I felt it a lot. It was the dismissal that I felt the most of all, simply because I was and still am convinced by him as a coach and as a person. It left a bitter taste in my mouth."
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