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Toni Kroos: A Memorable Bayern Player Who is Now a Memory

Last night, I awaited on the official announcement; today it is official. Toni Kroos is a Madrista. He is no longer a Bavarian.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

I am not sure Toni Kroos is a communist. After the completion of the transfer, it is time to delve into why it happened, what it means for Bayern and whether we should move on immediately.

Bayern's relationship with Kroos does not have the best history. A look at eight years of expectation and mistrust can reveal that. When he moved to Bayern II from Rostock's youth system, he did not seem to change at all. There was no spring in his step; he continued to move slowly and play dangerous passes. He was carefree. Jürgen Klinsmann did not seem to believe in him when he took over in 2008 in the manner unlike his predecessor Ottmar Hitzfeld.

As a result, Kroos found himself being loaned to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, where a certain Jupp Heynckes set the team up for a title challenge based around young Toni's talents. Even though Bayern nearly won the treble when he was away, Louis Van Gaal wanted to bring back the youngster. But Kroos did not light up the pitch upon his return. Uli Hoeness' future No.10 seemed to wilt under the pressure of expectation.

When Heynckes took over from Andries Jonker (and Van Gaal) in mid 2011, all seemed right. Kroos became a play maker again. He played looping passes to Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben. He was excellent. He became more responsible as the year progressed as when Bayern lost Bastian Schweinsteiger to a broken collar bone, he stepped into defensive midfield. He quietly grew into the role.

In 2012-13, after facing a bit of criticism for his carefree attitude, Kroos set the pitch on fire. He could not stop scoring in the first half of the season. He scored the opener when Bayern met Borussia Dortmund. The emotions were visible in his eyes as the team celebrated in unison. While he missed the final two months due to injury, he returned refreshed in 2013-14.

Pep Guardiola liked what he saw. He played Kroos in various roles, especially deep ones, in light of various injuries. Even when he threw his gloves to the ground in anger after being substituted, Pep punished him for only one match. He needed his man back. Kroos finished the season with arguably one of his best performances in a Bayern shirt against Borussia Dortmund.

He has won everything he can (except the Euros). Yet, he has never had the pleasure of being treated as an equal to his peers. Mario Götze is paid more than him; Robert Lewandowski will get paid more than him. Bayern never trusted Kroos enough to offer him an extension early enough and to give him what he deserves. They felt almost every other fixture in the side deserved more than Kroos.

Kroos saw the mistrust; he understood that Bayern did not feel he was ambitious enough. By pushing the Real Madrid move through, he showed he was. He showed he had the desire to fight for his spot in a club which can discard players a few months after signing them. Arjen Robben can easily tell him that, for Madrid, it does not matter how talented you are. You are expected to perform in every match. Madrid is not quite the family Bayern is. They do not have a Hermann Gerland or even a Matthias Sammer.

But, they did do one thing which Bayern did not. They offered Kroos what he deserved monetarily. And, if he becomes a fixture in midfield, surely he will go on to decide many matches with his incisive passes. Bayern is certainly to blame for not trusting Kroos enough. But Kroos never seemed as loyal to the badge as those around him; even newcomers like Mario Mandzukic were more loyal. Kroos has Bayern etched in him. He has known Bayern since he was 16.

He will always be a part of the history of the club, one of East Germany's favorite sons, one of Bayern's best midfielders, one of the treble winners of 2012-13.

As for Bayern, he has been a fixture in the side for three seasons but Pep Guardiola can compensate for his loss by using Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez and Thiago in their best roles. Kroos' impact and his brilliant passes (especially those from side to side) will be missed. His goals, all of them excellent, will be part of Bayern's illustrious history. But, Bayern can cover for his absence. This is the club which had to let Michael Ballack go but did not stop developing. Ballack was for more important to that Bayern side than Kroos is to this one.

Finally, should we all just move on? I just read Kroos' heartfelt Facebook post regarding Bayern. And it is clear he enjoyed his time  at Bayern and he will miss Bavaria. We should definitely move on but in a different manner than has been discussed in the comment threads before. Rather than thinking about his absence, we would do well to remember what he achieved with Bayern and how many good performances he put in. And slowly, with each passing match, we will all learn to deal with his absence better.

No man is bigger than the club. Kroos is starting to move on. And eventually, for us Bayern fans, he will become a fond but distant memory, as we march towards more and more titles.

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