German legend urges Barcelona star to ‘take a step back’ after Toni Kroos’ return

An iconic figure in German football has this week forwarded some advice the way of fellow countryman and Barcelona star İlkay Gündoğan.

As much comes with a view to the upcoming European Championships.

Germany, of course, are set to act as tournament hosts this summer, when the continent’s leading nations go head-to-head for the Euro 2024 title.

Die Mannschaft will head into the competition having enjoyed a timely return to form earlier this year.

Across a pair of friendly meetings with fellow heavyweights France and the Netherlands, the Germans emerged triumphant from both.

So, what changed to make Julian Nagelsmann’s troops, all of a sudden, look such an improved outfit?

The key factor, without question, came in the form of the return of Toni Kroos.

Real Madrid star Kroos announced his decision to come out of international retirement in February, with a view to playing his part at the Euros.

And one individual of the opinion that the 34-year-old – who will hang up his boots altogether after the tournament – should act as the undisputed leader in Die Mannschaft’s ranks, comes in the form of Lothar Matthäus.

Speaking to the media this week, in quotes gathered by Mundo Deportivo, German legend Matthäus went as far as to call for Barcelona star İlkay Gündoğan to ‘take a step back’, to ensure that Kroos’ influence is not compromised:

“Toni Kroos is the team’s main figure, a crucial player, and a reflection of the coach. Nagelsmann made the right call in reinstating him as the team’s leader. Kroos brings a sense of calmness to the squad. Since both he and Gündogan have a similar playing style, Gündogan will have to take a step back.”

Conor Laird | GSFN

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