Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has nothing but fond memories of his time at Bayern Munich as he prepares to take on his former team in the Champions League.
Kroos joined Bayern from Hansa Rostock at the age of 16 and made over 200 appearances in all competitions before leaving the club for Madrid in 2014.
Wednesday’s quarter-final will be his first competitive match at the Allianz Arena since that move, and he is looking forward to taking on some familiar faces.
“I had to leave home for the first time when I joined Bayern, it was my first time alone,” Kroos told the official UEFA website.
“And it is not just about making it as a professional, but also off the pitch. I had to organise myself as well and that is a tough task for a 16-year-old.
“But I think I did really well in both respects, sporting and personal. I broke through to the first team relatively quickly in Munich.
“That was where I played my first games as a professional. And then, after my 18-month loan to [Bayer] Leverkusen, I played a lot [more].
“I won plenty of titles, I played with fantastic players and I worked with top coaches, so I have really good memories from my time at Bayern. After all, Bayern was a special period in my career.
“I try to stay up to date with how the team is getting on, although that can be difficult sometimes, as we have a lot of games here and I dedicate a lot of time to my private life, too.
“There are still a lot of players there who I played with a lot and others that I still play with for the national team, so I am still in touch with them. Some of them I know off the pitch, players I have known for a long time.”
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