Toni Kroos has been a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia for its dreadful human rights record even as his fellow players make big money moves to the Middle East state
Real Madrid star Toni Kroos has doubled down on his criticism of Saudi Arabia due to the state’s dreadful human rights record.
The midfielder blasted the country last year as the Saudi Pro League’s summer spending spree kicked into gear. The German star was then booed when he played in Saudi for the Spanish Supercopa, which Madrid won.
Kroos has now spoken for the first time since those incidents as Los Blancos prepare for their Champions League clash with RB Leipzig. And the 34-year-old is adamant that his criticism was the right thing to do.
He hit out at those who jeered him in Saudi, as he opened up on his plans for the future. The German’s contract contract at Madrid is running down, but he has insisted that moving to Saudi is not an option.
“For me it was a confirmation that I said everything right in the interviews,” Kroos said of the boos. “I still don’t know what to do. I haven’t decided anything yet. I’m very happy that people want me to play one more year, that’s a positive sign.
“I feel good but I haven’t made a decision yet. Motivation is the most important thing. Having the same desire to win things as 10 years ago is important. If not, you don’t get to 34 playing so well. Also your body has to still work.
“I try to take good care of myself and physically I can play games every three days. Things work well and it’s always better if it works out that way. The most important thing is to take good care of your body and to always have the same motivation.
“I will take it when I feel ready and it’s clear to me. On the pitch this situation, as you can see, doesn’t worry me a bit. I’m just happy with what I’ve achieved in football and how I’m playing, so I’m not worried about it.”
Kroos’ criticism of Saudi was fierce, with the midfielder naming the lack of human rights as his main reason for not moving to the Middle East. And he insisted that the surge of players moving out was ruining football.
He told Sports Illustrated that the human rights situation is “the one thing that would stop me from making such a move.” He added: “Everyone has to make this decision for themselves, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, who decided to do so towards the end of his career.
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“But it becomes very difficult when players who are in the middle of their careers and have the quality to play for top clubs in Europe decide to make such changes. And then it is said that it is an ambitious sporting decision to go there, but the truth is that it’s all about the money.
“In the end it’s a decision for the money – and against football. And from there it starts to get difficult for the football we all know and love.” Kroos also commented “embarrassing” on an Instagram post detailing 21-year-old Spanish sensation Gabri Veiga’s move to Al-Ahli.
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