Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has launched a stinging attack on Toni Kroos, saying the Real Madrid midfielder “no longer fits with today’s football”.
The 2014 World Cup-winner announced his retirement from internationals after Germany’s Euro 2020 elimination at the hands of England last month, bringing the curtain down on a glittering international career that saw him earn 106 caps over 11 years.
Hoeness was particularly critical of Kroos’ display against the Three Lions at Wembley and felt his inclusion contributed to their downfall – but Kroos himself has since responded.
What did Hoeness say about Kroos?
Reflecting on Germany’s performances at the Euros, Hoeness told Sport1: “The first two games in the World Cup qualifiers were pretty decent with a back four, then he changed to a back three, it was completely unnecessary. Why? (Former Germany manager Joachim) Low wanted to integrate Kroos
"If we had played with Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Thomas Müller in midfield, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane on the wings and Kai Havertz upfront, we would be in a completely different position today. I'm 100% sure of that.
“I like Kroos, he showed world-class performances in the past. He was great for Bayern - but his way of playing is completely done. He no longer fits with today's football.
“We are 1-0 down against England in the last quarter of an hour, Kroos no longer crossed the halfway line. He played sideways, then sideways again, until the opposing defence had organized themselves
“Bayern players are super self-confident guys who had a big say with Hansi Flick. I know they were totally unhappy with the situation, with Low's tactics. Yet they accepted it. I don't understand, I didn't know them like that.
“They should have said ‘Toni Kroos no longer fits into this football with his sideways game. Our football is played vertically. The ball is played forward all the time’”.
How did Kroos respond?
Kroos reacted to Hoeness’ comments with a message of his own, taking a swipe at his short-lived stint as a pundit for broadcaster RTL.
He also referred to comments Hoeness made about Lothar Matthaus back in 2002, when he said the Germany legend would never return to Bayern as long as he was in charge, even as his gardener.
Kroos wrote on Twitter: “Uli Hoeness is a man with great knowledge of football (even if it wasn't enough for RTL), little interest in polemics and completely at peace with himself. Similar to his greenkeeper.”