INTERVIEW | TONI KROOS
"Leaving Bayern Munich was the right decision"
World Cup-winning midfielder gave an interview to Die Welt in which he discussed his first few months at Real Madrid.
Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos gave an interview in German national daily Die Welt, in which he discussed his first few months at the club. The World Cup-winner said he was surprised that he had settled so quickly into life at the club and in the city and said that the spirit among the players is "magnificent."
Is the language the biggest hurdle? "Without doubt. It's not easy when you don't understand the majority of your teammates and you only catch half of what the manager is saying during team talks. That's why I'm working on improving my Spanish. Up to now I haven't had a lot of time because of games, moving house and other things, but a lot of the players speak good English so I don't feel isolated."
What is an Ancelotti team talk like for you? "I understand bits, so I can more or less get what the talk is about. When it comes to me personally and my tasks, the manager comes and finds me after the talk and gives me instructions in English."
Are you getting to grips with the Spanish mentality? "We say that the Spanish are not so strict when it comes to punctuality. They are more relaxed in that respect."
Do you have to pay a fine if you're late for training? "Exactly. But I'm talking more about punctuality in every kind of appointment, as well as off the pitch. You have to take into account that the other person will arrive a little late. But in Spain this is no problem."
How do people react when they see you in the street? It's impossible to go incognito... "[Laughs]. It is impossible. But I don't mind. In Madrid, the buzz among people is bigger than in Germany. Football is very important for Spaniards. They are fanatical, but also friendly."
What's it like to play with Cristiano, Bale and Benzema? "I know what playing in a team with such great individual talent. We all respect each other a lot and the spirit is magnificent."
What's Cristiano like? "At this moment in time there is no other player better than Cristiano. He was one of the first to come and talk to me when I arrived, he's a very nice guy."
What's it like to be at such a demanding club? "I was lucky that I came to Madrid from a club that is also very demanding. In Munich the idea of the club is more than just going on the pitch to win games. You start a season to win titles. That is what counts. For that reason I didn't have to adapt much. I like playing for Madrid. Although a lot of people don't think so, it's a very homely club. I fell like people have faith in me. The manager as well, who was the one who brought me here.
As well as winning, are Real Madrid expected to play beautiful football? "At Madrid we are looking for perfection, but the important thing is to win."
Do you still feel it was the right move to leave Bayern Munich? "I'm happy to have been given the chance to try something new. Even though it's only been a short while I fell like it was the right decision. Madrid is a special club and the challenge I was looking for after my long and successful career at Bayern. Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona and Chelsea are the four biggest clubs at the moment, so I would only have swapped done for another."
Did winning the World Cup make you mentally stronger? "Beforehand I already had plenty of self-confidence. I have never been a person who dwells too much on things when something isn't working. I have faith in my ability and that helped me to get ahead when I was younger. But maybe the confidence in my play has increased after winning the World Cup."