Toni Kroos will have many of his mates on Friday who want the same thing – for his long and successful career to come to an abrupt and painful end.

Nothing personal, you understand, but the not-so-trivial matter of Spain vs. Germany (noon ET on FOX), which promises to be the quarterfinal of the European Championship for years to come, is enough to momentarily sever the bonds of affection built during Kroos’s glorious decade at Real Madrid.

The German midfielder has won five Champions League titles since joining the Bernabéu from Bayern Munich and his status at the club is that of a favourite.

He commands similar respect in the Madrid dressing room, but the chance to win Euro 2024 is no joke either. The 34-year-old has publicly stated that he will retire from football at the end of Germany’s Euro campaign, and Spain striker Joselu has made his feelings clear.

“It’s a shame that we have to send Toni into retirement like this, but we hope we win on Friday and it will be Toni’s last game, for our own good,” said Joselu, who announced last week that he was leaving Real to join Al-Gharafa in the Saudi Pro League.

“We have to believe in ourselves and not worry about another player. I love Toni, we care about him, but I think Friday is Toni’s last game.

“It was a pleasure for me to play with him. I think he reflects everything that Real Madrid is, the values ​​of the club. He is a fundamental player for Germany and also for Real Madrid, we have to keep an eye on him on Friday.”

Kroos was his usual rock solid self during Germany’s excellent run, with the team recording three wins and a draw against Switzerland and cementing their place as one of the best teams in the competition despite some setbacks in preparation.

Spain were perhaps the only team to have fared better, truly dominating each of their group games and again in their convincing Round of 16 victory over Georgia.

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However, Kroos is determined to keep his nation’s dream of victory alive and has promised himself that he will not worry about the fact that if he loses, he will never be able to play again.

“I expect (Joselu’s comments) because he wants to win,” he said. “You can expect an interesting game. It won’t be boring. I’ll do everything to make sure his wish doesn’t come true.”

“I’m not nostalgic at all. I didn’t bring any treats for you (German journalists) either. I don’t expect this to be my last match, so I assume we’ll see each other again.

“The possibility that this will be my last match does not weigh on me. I will give it my all until the end, whenever that will be. I feel happy and excited.”

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Joselu played a key role in Madrid’s magnificent season, in which they won La Liga and the Champions League. When the team was about to lose to Bayern in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final, he scored twice to turn the tables and send Real to the final against Borussia Dortmund.

In addition to Joselu, Kroos’ squad will also include well-known Real Madrid players: Dani Carvajal and Nacho.

Friday’s epic clash will likely end in a victory for the tournament winner.

Both teams are the top scorers in the competition – Germany have 10 and Spain nine – and are playing some of their best football in recent weeks.

The way Kroos is loved is as strong in his homeland as it is in Madrid. He may not feel the emotional side of it, but many fans on both sides do.

Martin Rogers is a FOX Sports columnist. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX AND sign up for the daily newsletter.



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