Real Madrid star Toni Kroos has reflected on the time he held transfer talks with Manchester United and Liverpool ahead of his move to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2014.
Liverpool were the first Premier League side to make contract with Kroos, who was then setting the world alight for Bayern Munich.
However, the Reds sold their talismanic striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £75million which made them a much weaker proposition.
Some of that cash was to be reinvested in another attacking force and Kroos was touted as a target.
“It wasn’t a straight chat-up line but they offered to tell me more about the club and so on,” Kroos said of his conversation with Liverpool chiefs.
The German was open to moving to Anfield after receiving texts from Steve Gerrard and Suarez – but there was a secret lurking in the shadows.
Kroos added, laughing: “The funny thing was, Suarez was about to leave to Barcelona anyway.”
United, under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor David Moyes, then opened negotiations with the midfielder.
However, results on the pitch were not up to scratch and Moyes was axed with Louis van Gaal brought in as his replacement.
“David Moyes had come to see me and the contract had basically been done,” Kroos added.
“But then Moyes was fired and Louis van Gaal came in, which complicated matters.
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“Louis wanted time to build his own project. I didn’t hear anything from United for a while and started having doubts.”
While all this was bubbling in the background Kroos went on to win the World Cup with Germany.
That led to interest from then-Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti and the rest is history.
“Then the World Cup started and Carlo Ancelotti called,” Kroos reflected. “And that was it.”
Real’s standards have dropped since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus in 2018.
“A lot of us didn’t play our best football last season,” Kroos admits.
“After three Champions League wins in a row, you could perhaps expect to lose a bit of sharpness and it took us time to adjust to the loss of the 40 or 50 goals Cristiano Ronaldo guaranteed each year.
“But at Real Madrid, that’s unacceptable. When we were knocked out by Ajax [in the last 16], many suggested that was the end of this team.
“We were written off as over the hill but that only provided extra motivation for us to prove them all wrong.”
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