Published On: Thu, Jul 4th, 2024
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Spain star wants to send Toni Kroos ‘into retirement’ as fighting talk erupts at Euro 2024 | Football | Sport

Spain striker Joselu wants to retire former Real Madrid team-mate Toni Kroos tomorrow. La Roja and Germany will do battle in Stuttgart for a place in the Euro 2024 semi-finals. And Kroos has already confirmed that his final matches as a professional footballer will come at this summer’s tournament.

“It was an honour to have played with Toni,” said Joselu. “He embodies all of Real’s values and was an excellent team-mate. I got a lot of advice from him.”

That’s where the niceties ended from the former Stoke City star. He continued: “We hope to send him into retirement on Friday. We must not worry about players from other national teams. As much as I love Toni, Friday’s game will be his last.”

Kroos, 34, hit back at Joselu after being made aware of the comments. “I can understand him saying that, but we have a lot to say about it,” said the German. “The Spaniards have been playing well so far, but so have we.

“We can look forward to an interesting game. I’ll let him have his wish and will do everything I can to prevent it from coming true!”

The fighting talk will add an extra layer of intrigue to what already promises to be a mouth-watering quarter-final. Germany are unbeaten at Euro 2024, while Spain are the only team to boast a flawless record after winning all three of their group games before a 4-1 victory over Georgia in the last 16.

Much of La Roja’s threat derives from the exciting wing duo of Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal. But Kroos is adamant that 16-year-old Yamal won’t be given the same freedom he enjoyed against lesser opponents.

“The consistency with which he plays at his age is impressive,” he said. “But we have prepared for him. We have been warned to defend against him. We know that we have to defend players like that as a team.

“He has not played in many European Championship quarter-finals. We will try to keep him on as short a leash as possible so that he cannot play like he has done so far at the European Championship.”

Germany haven’t beaten Spain in almost a decade, and they were subjected to a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of La Roja when they met in the UEFA Nations League four years ago. Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal believes his nation is ‘the best there is’ but he does not see a repeat on the cards.

He said: “A lot of time has passed (since the 6-0). Drawing conclusions from this game is not fair and would not be good for us. Germany is a great team.”

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