Luka Modric leads Toni Kroos tributes from Real Madrid players

  • Toni Kroos announced his impending retirement this week
  • Luka Modric has played alongside him for the last ten years
  • Bellingham & Vinicius Jr also pay tribute to Real Madrid star
Toni Kroos has played with Luka Modric since 2014
Toni Kroos has played with Luka Modric since 2014 / ANP/GettyImages

Real Madrid star Luka Modric has paid tribute to longstanding midfield partner Toni Kroos following the German's decision to retire after Euro 2024 this summer.

Kroos will call time on his glittering career at the relatively young age of 34, having dominated at club level with five Champions League titles and also getting his hands on the World Cup in 2014.

He has just two more games with Madrid ahead of him as the club wraps up in La Liga against Real Betis on Saturday night, before contesting the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund. Kroos’ career will then be at an end whenever Germany's Euro 2024 journey finishes.

"Having a hard time writing these words," Modric said as he posted on Instagram alongside a number of picture of the pair together. "The football world is sad because a historic footballer is leaving, and I admit to you, I am also very sad.

"Man, you are a legend of this sport and a legend of Real Madrid. I really enjoyed playing by your side. It's truly been an honour to share Real Madrid's central midfield with you. You have qualities that make you a unique and special footballer, and there will never be another Toni Kroos.

"Unforgettable European nights, titles, the magic of the Bernabeu....we will never forget this golden time in the club of our lives. You achieved everything but we still have one left, let's go for the 15th [European Cup]. I'll miss you, my friend."

Toni Kroos
Kroos has two games left with Real Madrid / Diego Souto/GettyImages

Modric is one of the few players who has been at Madrid longer than Kroos, having himself arrived in 2012. They have spent a decade together since the German's transfer from Bayern Munich in 2014, at which point he had been close to joining Manchester United instead.

But Modric was the only one to share their thoughts about a departing great.

"One year was not enough," Jude Bellingham said of his sole season as Kroos’ teammate.

"Thank you for everything you have given to the game, it's been an absolute pleasure to enjoy your football and personality as a fan and even more so as a teammate. Still some more work to do this season but wish you all the best for whatever is next for you and your family. LEGEND."

Vinicius Junior started his tribute with one word: "Genius."

The Brazilian said, "It was the closest word I could find to define you, Toni. And yet it is far from what you deserve. It is a sad day for me and for the Madrid fans. But it is a terrible day for football. Knowing that soon we won't have you anymore.

"You could give much more, much more. But I understand you. Thank you for every pass, for every orientation and for allowing us to learn so much in these years. We love you! Go for the 15th for you. What a great person he is, Toni Kroos."