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Toni Kroos: “I almost signed for United”

The German midfielder told the Daily Mail that he was on the brink of joining David Moyes’ Manchester United in 2014, before deciding to sign for Real Madrid.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 30: Toni Kroos of Real Madrid Celebrates the championship during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 30, 2022 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates ImagesGetty

Toni Kroos joined Real Madrid in July 2014 fresh from winning the World Cup with Germany. His transfer has turned out to be one of the best pieces of business the Spanish giants have done in recent seasons - they paid just 25 million euros for a player worth much more. Kroos felt undervalued at Bayern and decided to leave Munich. And he made the right move. With Madrid, he has played 359 games, scored 25 goals and given out 83 assists - and during his time in the capital he has won 16 trophies, including three Champions Leagues and three LaLiga titles. His objective now is to win his fourth European crown, and help the team to turn around the 4-3 deficit in their semi-final against Manchester City. But it could have turned out very differently had Kroos opted to take another path in his career. The Real Madrid No.8 came close to signing for Manchester United.

He explained how it all developed that summer in an interview with The Daily Mail. “I knew beforehand that United wanted me and Moyes absolutely underlined that. It was a really nice afternoon with very pleasant people,” Kroos recalled. “We talked a lot about United’s football plan, which convinced me. But we also got to know each other as people. We knew quite a bit about the Moyes family afterwards. We talked about how we lived and how we all imagined life as a family”.

“In the end we broke up to do it. So we agreed verbally. The next step should be to look at everything on the spot in Manchester. The move would not have been that complicated - after all, we only had one child at the time, seven months old. It would all have worked,” he continued.

That meeting took place in January 2014 when talks to renew with Bayern had hit a brick wall. United manager David Moyes had spoken to Kroos’ agent Volker Struth, and a deal seemed to be in place. But the situation changed on 22 April when Moyes was sacked after just 10 months in charge, with the team knocked out of the Champions League, out of both domestic cups and seventh in the table. Louis van Gaal was appointed later that summer and had his own vision of how he wanted to rebuild the United squad - and he wasn’t convinced that Kroos would fit in.

“I wouldn’t have won three Champions Leagues with United”

Kroos says he doesn’t think about what might have happened if Moyes had remained in the United job and he has ended up at Old Trafford. “I’m not someone who thinks about hypotheticals,” he admitted. “Yes, it was close. I almost went to Manchester United. But that’s not how things turned out. I don’t have these what-if-thoughts. Because there are no real answers to them. The only thing I can say with certainty is that I probably wouldn’t have won the Champions League three times with Manchester United.”.

The German midfielder will have another decision to make on his future as he will soon be entering the final year of his contract with Madrid. However, a move to United at this stage looks unlikely: “United is too big a club to be there for a year or two. This is not a club where you go to finish your career. You have to be there for three or four years and both the player and club must have a clear idea,” he concluded.


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