Toni Kroos: Real a cut above Bayern
Toni Kroos believes Real Madrid are "a cut above" former club Bayern Munich after being unveiled as the Spanish club's latest signing in front of thousands of fans inside the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday evening.
Kroos, 24, completed a reported 25-million-euro switch from 2013 Champions League winners Bayern Munich to their dethroners Real, where he was given a hero's welcome.
At a news conference in the Spanish capital, the Germany international says he is hungry for silverware despite winning the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
"Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world," he said. "They are a cut above Bayern."
After deciding to move on from the Bundesliga champions with just a year left on his contract, Kroos thanked his former club in a statement published on his official website on Thursday.
"I would like to thank Bayern Munich for a wonderful time," he wrote. "Since I took the decision at the age of 16 to join Bayern, I have been proud every single day to have been part of this amazing club.
"I celebrated great successes alongside exceptional players like Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, Luca Toni and Franck Ribery.
"Many private and sporting memories spring to mind, above all the treble-winning year 2013 which will certainly remain in my and your memories for an eternity."
Kroos also paid tribute to the coaches who had defined his career so far, from Ottmar Hitzfeld to Louis van Gaal and Jupp Heynckes, under whom he also played at Bayer Leverkusen -- an equally poignant stage of his career.
"That phase was immensely important for my progress," he continued. "I don't want to overlook my time there, which is why I would also like to pay particular thanks to [director of sport] Rudi Voeller and [general manager] Michael Reschke."
However, the biggest thanks of all was reserved for a nemesis of his new employers, former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.
"Pep is an amazing person, a very special coach and stands out among all the great coaches I worked under," Kroos said. "He has brought me on a great deal and I am very, very grateful for the faith he and director of sport Matthias Sammer, whom I had already got to know during my time as a Germany youth international, have shown in me.
"Dear Pep Guardiola, dear Matthias Sammer, dear friends and the Bayern Munich team: I wish you much success in the years to come!"
That is what he also wishes for himself and Real after signing a six-year deal at the Bernabeu: "I'm far from sated when it comes to winning things," he added. "My biggest aim of all is to win trophies with Real Madrid."
Key European club fixtures
French Ligue 1 -- Aug. 8
FA Community Shield: Manchester City vs. Arsenal -- Aug. 10
German Super Cup: Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich -- Aug. 13
English Premier League -- Aug. 16
Spanish Super Cup: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid -- Aug. 19 and 22
Spanish La Liga/German Bundesliga -- Aug. 23
Italian Serie A -- Aug. 30