Friday, June 14, 2024

Real Madrid 0-0 Real Betis: Bore draw cannot ruin Kroos´ goodbye

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 May 2024

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Toni Kroos bade an emotional farewell to Real Madrid fans at a sold-out Santiago Bernabeu in a 0-0 draw with Real Betis.

One of Madrid’s most decorated players, Kroos confirmed this week that he will be retiring after Euro 2024.

That made Saturday’s meeting with Betis his final LaLiga match for Madrid, who eased to the title this season and will now look ahead to next week’s Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund.

While that clash at Wembley will be Kroos’ last in club football, he was able to say goodbye to the Madrid fans, with the match all about the 34-year-old, with nothing left to be decided in the standings.

Kroos fought back tears as walked onto the pitch through a corridor formed by his team-mates, who were wearing his number eight jersey as the fans held up a giant flag with his face and the words “Thank you, legend” which covered the south stand.

In the 87th minute, Kroos, who saw a free-kick saved by Betis’ Fran Vieites, broke down in tears when, after receiving another standing ovation as he was substituted, he embraced his three children who were all crying on the sidelines.

The game was stopped for several minutes as Kroos hugged each of his team-mates, as well as coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Ferland Mendy and Vinicius Junior went closest to breaking the deadlock for Madrid, while Hector Bellerin missed from a free header for Betis and Thibaut Courtois pulled off some fine saves either side of the break.

Data Debrief: Kroosing into retirement

What a career Kroos has had, not only at Madrid, but at Bayern Munich beforehand.

On his 306th LaLiga appearance, a tally bettered by only one other German (Bernd Schuster, with 316), Kroos bowed out in typical style, having the most touches (122), creating the most chances (three), playing the most passes (110) and completing the most passes (107) of any player on the pitch.

Madrid might be in safe hands with Jude Bellingham, but Kroos will certainly be missed.

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