Toni Kroos Maintains Saudi Human Rights Stance

Real Madrid’s midfielder, Toni Kroos, continues to stand by his criticism of players moving to Saudi Arabia, citing human rights violations in the country. The 34-year-old experienced a chilly reception during Real Madrid’s participation in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia in January 2024, with local fans booing him every time he touched the ball in both matches.

Addressing the press before Los Blancos’ UEFA Champions League knockout match against RB Leipzig, Kroos reflected on the reception he received in the oil-rich nation. “For me, it was a confirmation that I said everything right in the interviews,” Kroos remarked, affirming his stance on the human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.

In a Sports Illustrated interview during the summer of 2023, Kroos had expressed that the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia was a significant deterrent for him. He asserted that while people talk about ambitious football in the country, the primary motivation behind such moves is financial gain. The criticism voiced by Kroos reflects his commitment to ethical considerations beyond the allure of lucrative contracts.

With EURO 2024 looming three months away, speculations surround the possibility of Kroos coming out of international retirement to aid his nation’s quest for the trophy on home soil. In response to these rumors, Kroos stated, “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.” The midfielder emphasized the importance of motivation and the desire to win, factors that have propelled him to maintain a high level of performance even at the age of 34.

“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,” Kroos explained, shedding light on the considerations that will influence his decision.

It’s worth noting that Kroos’s contract with Real Madrid is set to expire on June 30, and the club has approached him for a one-year contract extension. While Kroos has yet to make a final decision, the likelihood of him signing a new deal remains high, given his continued stellar performances on the pitch.

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