Toni Kroos’ legacy: Real Madrid’s master plan with Florian Wirtz

Sport The legacy of Toni Kroos

Real Madrid’s master plan with Florian Wirtz

As of: 5:04 p.m. | Reading time: 5 minutes

By Axel Hesse, Phillip Arens

Common guild in Madrid? Leverkusen’s coach Xabi Alonso (right) and top player Florian Wirtz

Source: dpa/Marius Becker

Real Madrid has long had Florian Wirtz watched by its most important scout. The Spaniards have a clear plan and want to outdo FC Bayern on the transfer market. The 21-year-old is supposed to inherit Toni Kroos and bring his coach with him.

There is only one player in the top five leagues in Europe who has both 15 goals and 15 assists in competitive games this season: Leverkusen’s master jewel Florian Wirtz. He collected 37 points scorer in 45 games. This shows the class and importance of the young star, who is also one of the strongest players in the Bundesliga.

The 21-year-old has long stood out. DFB sports director Rudi Völler (64) said in the Sport-Bild interview that he had arrived “at the top of world football”. Accordingly, the clubs are fighting for him. From the Premier League these are Manchester City and Arsenal FC, as well as Real Madrid and FC Bayern.

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Wirtz wants to stay in Leverkusen until 2025. His goal is to play in the European Championships and then gain his first experience in the Champions League. Afterwards, according to the plan, he will be a finished player and ready for the big step. If you want to have a chance at him, you not only have to spend a lot of money – the transfer fee is at least 150 million euros – but you also have to be one of the favorites for the biggest titles every season.

That’s why FC Bayern will have a very difficult time convincing Wirtz to change. Real Madrid, which snatched the Champions League final from under Munich’s noses on Wednesday evening, has a much better chance. The Royals have a clear plan. This stipulates that young star Wirtz will come in for old German star Toni Kroos (34) next summer!

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Kroos plays more defensively. In the national team, he is the leader of the German European Championship team in the eighth position behind playmaker Wirtz. Wirtz would also stay on the offensive at Real. The English Jew Bellingham (20) could take over the strategist role from Kroos. Wirtz would whirl in front of him.

The ideas at Real are advanced. The Royals watch the Leverkusen player in almost every game. The scout Felipe Martin, who is influential at Real, is responsible for absorbing and collecting the information. He only comes if Real are serious. He got this important job even before Bellingham was signed from Dortmund. The fact that the Englishman immediately made an impact in the Spanish capital as a player and as a guy brings Martin additional respect within the club.

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One thing is also clear: Wirtz, who is advised by his father Hans, does not need a stopover in Munich to prepare for a transfer to the highest shelf in Europe. The family agrees on this. This is also why Wirtz decided to stay in Leverkusen after the European Championships.

Hoeneß is fighting, Alonso is a factor

FC Bayern is still trying to present him with a move within the league as the best solution. Apparently it is honorary president Uli Hoeneß (72) who is looking to be close to the family of probably the best German player at the moment. It must be the goal of the record champions to get this boy. In addition to his playing ability, Wirtz is also what Bayern absolutely needs: a leader. On the pitch he lives the “Mia san mia” feeling. However, in the Bayer jersey, not Bayern.

There was certainly some calculation involved when Hoeneß spoke publicly about being prepared to invest as much money for ONE German player as he did for Harry Kane (30). His club paid 100 million euros for the Englishman. Nevertheless, Wirtz became champion. They know in Munich that the Leverkusen player will be much more expensive. The playmaker still has his career ahead of him. Coach Xabi Alonso (42), who compares him to Lionel Messi (36) because of his ability to execute the simple game perfectly, says: “Wirtz has a great future.”

Alonso was a world star himself and won 18 titles as a player (including world champion and Champions League winner). He and Wirtz may move to Madrid together next year. At Real, Alonso is considered the ideal solution to succeed coach Carlo Ancelotti (64). His contract in Madrid, like Alonso’s in Leverkusen, runs until 2026. However, the Spaniard has a promise from Bayer that he can leave (for a fee) if he wants to take the next step at a top club. After Alonso’s rejections from Bayern and Liverpool FC this year, Real is considered the most promising club for a commitment from Europe’s most sought-after coach.

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Whether the Royals’ plans work also depends on Kroos, whose contract expires in the summer. Madrid, who are confirmed as champions in 2024, want to keep him and extend him for a year – like a year ago on the same terms. The pace setter has it in his hand. His decision is expected in May.

Kroos has been pulling the strings in the Real midfield for ten years. During this time he has won the Champions League alone four times. Its president Florentino Pérez (77) wants him to provide this year’s top signing with great passes next season – Kylian Mbappé (25). The Frenchman comes from PSG on a free transfer, but collects a three-digit million sum in hand money. With Mbappé, the attack is set up for the next few years. Vinícius Júnior (23) extended his contract until 2027 last fall. Rodrygo’s (23) contract even runs until 2028.

The midfield should be renewed next year and Wirtz should become the king transfer of 2025. He’s just 22. When Kroos was asked in Spain at the end of last year which player had the potential for Real Madrid, he already answered: “I think Florian Wirtz.”

The article was written for the Sports Competence Center (WELT, SPORT BILD, BILD) and first published in SPORT BILD.

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