Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos Speaks Out Against Money-Driven Moves to Saudi Arabia
In a recent interview, Real Madrid star Toni Kroos has voiced his strong opposition to professional footballers making moves to Saudi Arabia primarily for financial gain, rather than the love of the sport. Kroos emphasized that concerns about human rights would deter him from considering such a move himself.
The German midfielder’s criticism comes on the heels of his condemnation of Gabri Veiga’s decision to join Al-Ahli, a Saudi club, despite interest from prominent English clubs like Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea. Kroos had labeled Veiga’s move as “embarrassing.”
Kroos, aged 33, didn’t hold back in his assessment of players who prioritize money over the essence of football. “It has been said that the football there is ambitious, but it all revolves around money,” he told Sports Illustrated. He further explained, “In the end, it is a decision for money and against football.”
While Kroos expressed some understanding towards players like Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved to the Saudi Pro League towards the end of their careers, he found it troubling when players in their prime opt for such moves. “The lack of human rights is what would prevent me from leaving,” he emphasized.
Saudi Arabian clubs have managed to attract high-profile players like Ronaldo, Neymar, Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, and Roberto Firmino to their ranks. However, the decision of Gabri Veiga, a young talent from Celta Vigo, to join Al-Ahli at the start of his career was unexpected, especially after turning down offers from renowned European clubs.
Kroos took to social media to express his views, describing Veiga’s move as ’embarrassing.’ The midfielder, who is entering his tenth season with Real Madrid, has accumulated an impressive record of 420 appearances for the club. He has secured four Champions League titles and three LaLiga championships during his tenure.
As the football landscape witnesses more players drawn towards the Middle East, Kroos’s comments serve as a reminder of the values and considerations that shape players’ decisions beyond financial incentives. While clubs like Al-Ittihad reportedly prepare a substantial £118 million offer to entice Mohamed Salah away from Liverpool, Kroos’s stance underlines the complex factors at play in the world of professional football.
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