Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Joselu hoping to send former Madrid team-mate Kroos into retirement at Euro 2024

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Jul 2024

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Spain forward Joselu hopes to end former Real Madrid team-mate Toni Kroos’ career by defeating Germany in Friday’s Euro 2024 quarter-final.

Kroos and Joselu played together under Carlo Ancelotti’s Los Blancos last campaign as the Germany international signed off his club career with Champions League and LaLiga glory.

The 34-year-old midfielder has already confirmed the UEFA tournament on home soil will end his glittering playing days, as an enticing last-eight clash awaits in Stuttgart.

Joselu is aiming to put sentiment aside and force Kroos’ hand into retirement when Luis de la Fuente’s in-form side meet Julian Nagelsmann’s hosts at Stuttgart Arena.

“It’s a shame we have to send Toni into retirement like that, but hopefully we will win on Friday and it will be Toni’s last game, for our own good,” Joselu told a pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

“We have to believe in ourselves and not worry about another player… I love Toni, we care for him, but I think Friday is Toni’s last game.”

Kroos waved farewell to Madrid in May after the Champions League final victory over Borussia Dortmund.

The former Bayern Munich man has carried that form into the Euros, completed 95% of his passes for Germany (411/431).

That is the highest completion rate by a player to attempt 300+ passes at a European Championship tournament (since 1980), while he also leads all players at Euro 2024 for line-breaking passes (125).

“It’s been a pleasure for me to play with him. I think he reflects all that is Real Madrid, the values of the club,” added Joselu.

“He’s a fundamental player for Germany, as well as for Real Madrid, we need to keep an eye on him on Friday.”

Having lost their first meeting with Spain on German soil (2-1 in a 1935 friendly), Germany are unbeaten in their last eight games against La Roja on their own turf (W5 D3).

Joselu suggested Nagelsmann’s men are therefore the favourites, despite Spain going unbeaten against Germany in their last four major tournament clashes.

Friday will mark a poignant moment for Joselu, too, as he returns to Stuttgart, where the forward was born before leaving for Spain.

“On Friday, it will also be a special moment. My mother used to go to games at Stuttgart,” he said.

“Representing my country is the maximum a footballer can achieve… I enjoy every day.

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