Dear Toni Kroos,
First of all, how are you? Life treating you well? How’s Leon doing… is he teething like my boy is (my son was born 3 days before yours… small world, eh?) Poor boys... you feel so bad for their poor gums and all that. Especially here in the middle of Canada where the "Polar Vortex" is making our skin so dry and all that stuff so the drool gives my boy this big ol’ mouth rash… (we call this time "winter", but Americans and Eastern Canadians aren’t used to the bitter cold that we in central Canada get, so they had to give it a fancy name like a "polar vortex"… oooooh… ahhh… to make themselves feel better… but I digress: this isn't about me or my boys drool rash…)
Now… lemme tell you something… this first half of the season… liebchen: you were incredible. People can crap on Pep for changing whatever he did and people can pine for Jupp and the return to the familiar, but I hope Pep is buying you a nice steak dinner now and then for what you have done for him. Other than Lahm’s transformation into defensive mid, without question, you are the reason why Bayern have been pimp slapping the Bundesliga and making the rest of the Champions League. Did you all of a sudden train better or do anything differently? No… all you did was stay healthy. While everyone dropped like flies with knee lacerations, back problems, ankle problems, problems, you have been the rock that Pep has been able to rely upon to make his system go. Truly, you have truly stepped up and deserve every accolade that you have been given and every accolade that the team has been given.
And that’s why, Toni… you need to leave Bayern Munchen.
You need to spread your wings and leave us Toni. For the longest time, we have watched you work. We have watched you make pass after excellent pass after excellent pass and keep the Bayern Munich machine humming. And when you do score, boy do you score… that goal against Arsenal in the first leg of the Champions League… echte spitze baby. When you tore up your knee, we all feared the worst. Luckily we kept on trucking and you were able to get a Champions League medal.
And that is why you need to go… because you need to be needed.
Right now, as our roster lurches towards full fitness (Franck’s butt problems aside) and as others are coming back from the injured reserve, the question now becomes "Who starts?" Well, let’s take a look:
- Ribery? Um yea… you sorta have to start the UEFA PotY, don’t you?
- Robben? Um yea… you may have noticed his form since the CL final… the man has been on a tear (both muscular and goal scoring)
- Schweinsteiger? Um yea… he’s our vice captain and the heart of the team
- Muller? He gets the job done too in the big games
- Thiago? Gotze? Yea… we spent all that money for them to watch games... NOT
- And I haven't even mentioned Shaq, Pizzaro, Green or anyone else defensive (Javi or Lahm)
"But wait," I hear people say, "Pep hates strikers, so we can do a false 9!" Yea… that works from time to time… but do you really think that’s going to last? If Pep hates strikers, why the hell did Bayern sign Lewandoski? To keep Gotze company?Yea... that's what the big teams do... spend 100 million euros on bench warmers
This is my point Toni, and I’m not doing this to rain on your parade or crap your head a darker hair shade of brown. Really, I’m not. I think you’re fantastic and the last 3 or 4 months have done nothing to disprove that. But the fact of the matter is, you are not talked about in the same breath of reverence as Schweini, Lahm, or Muller are. Yes, you came up through our youth program… but really (and I dunno if it was because you had your breakthrough in Neverkusen) but you just don’t hold the same place in the hearts as our other homegrown talent. You’re like a family member who went away for a bit… like you left to go to university, then moved back home. The simple fact is that when you’re gone, we’re bummed, disappointed, and miss you… but we realize that someone else will take your place (never was this more evident than in the Champions League last year) and life will go on. But if Schweini or Lahm or Neuer were to get hurt like you did against Arsenal, holy crap, we totally freak out about what are we going to do. That will never happen for you here at Bayern. We will always enjoy the hard work you do for us, but really, if you’re gone, we have 1 or 2 other people who will get the job done and a coach who will make happen what needs to happen.
Even on these forums, Toni, it’s the same. I remember after we won the CL, we made a fan post about "Who is the most irreplaceable player on Bayern Munchen?" and many people had the same answer (Neuer, Lahm (me), Schweini, Muller… were the most common ones) but no one mentioned you.
And that is why Toni, you need to go.
You deserve to be on a team where you are irreplaceable. You deserve to go to a team whose fans will go ape$hit bananas if you get injured. You deserve to go to a team who will have to field dozens of questions as week about your status. You deserve to have a team who the media will grill the coach as to why you’re not playing enough minutes/getting enough touches/ etc. You deserve to have a club and its fans freak out at the DFB for not making you a starter on the national team. You deserve to have the media spotlight on you and be grilled like the big players on other clubs are.
But that will never happen here at Bayern. We were sad that you got hurt, but no one shat themselves like if Bastian, Neuer or Lahm got hurt for the season in a CL quarter. People cared that you got hurt, but Jupp didn’t field any questions about whether or not there was a chance you might be able to make it to play in London. No one is grilling Pep why you aren't playing enough (but to be true, injuries have kinda muted this point) The only time the media has truly given you this focus, is when Moyes came to watch two decent football teams battle it out in Gladbach.
Earlier, I wrote that you were like a brother who moved away, then moved back home, and we never missed you. Now, you need to move away, and send us a postcard now and then and make us miss you. You need to call us on a birthday long distance and say that you don’t have much time to talk but that you’re doing great and you think about us all the time and that life is scary but exciting and you’re doing fine. You need to make Mom cry now and then that she misses her baby boy. You need Dad to act all tough when you call and ask if you need any money or anything like that.
So go Toni. But a request: don’t waste your time in a Europa League-esque team. Don’t pull a Gomez and go to Florentina. Or god… please oh please oh please don’t pull a Gustavo and go to a 5/6/7th place Bundesliga team. You’re better than that. You deserve better than that. We all know it. You and Bayern deserve to face one another in an important Champions League match.
Please… go to Manchester United. Or Real Madrid. Or Juventus. Or Barcelona. Or PSG, Monaco, Athletico, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Inter, or Dortmund (wait… no, don’t go to Dortmund… seriously, we’ll kick your ass and reinjure your knee if you do that) Go to somewhere where you will shine and be in the spotlight. You’ve been an admirable supporting role player or sidekick… now it’s time for you go out on your own and face the bright lights.
Hey…. maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this has been a waste of a read. Maybe you’re happy in Munchen and are doing this all for a raise in pay. Good on you and well done. I hope you get it because you’re worth it.
But if you’re not doing this for money alone (and I have always suspected that you aren’t)... well, just don’t forget to call and say hi to Mom or send a postcard once in a while.