During the international break, players can often be found speaking more casually about their clubs, coaches and other players alike. However, Germany and Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has this week once again moved to criticise a fellow professional.
The 30-year-old has a history of publicly speaking out regarding other players. He previously assured that Mesut Ozil’s claims of a level of racism within the Germany squad were invalid.
Ozil retired from international football in 2018, before stating, “It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level while I have this feeling of racism and disrespect.”
However, Kroos quickly denied the accusations.
“The parts in his statement that are rightly addressed are unfortunately overshadowed by the significantly higher amount of nonsense,” the Real Madrid star said. “I think he knows very well that racism within the national team and the DFB does not exist.”
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – MARCH 23: Toni Kroos of Germany speaks to the media during a press conference ahead of their UEFA European Championship Qualifier match against the Netherlands at Johan Cruyff Arena on March 23, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Kroos also spoke out over Leroy Sane’s body language whilst playing for the German national team.
“Sometimes you have the feeling with Leroy’s body language that it is all the same whether we win or lose. He has to improve his body language. He’s a player who has everything you need to be a world-class player but sometimes you have to tell him he has to perform better.”
Aubameyang the target
And the most recent of Toni Kroos’ scathing remarks has been directed at Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
In 2019, Arsenal won 3-0 against Rennes, turning around a 3-1 first-leg deficit. After scoring his 2nd of the game, Aubameyang pulled on the mask of Marvel’s Black Panther.
One year ago today…
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored against Rennes and pulled out the Black Panther mask 🙌
Wakanda forever ⚔️pic.twitter.com/lUoc4Ojyu8
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 14, 2020
Speaking afterwards, the Gabonese striker explained why he decided to wear the mask. “I needed a mask which represents me and that’s the Black Panther. In Gabon we call the national team the Panthers,” said the 31-year-old.
When the late Chadwick Boseman passed away, Aubameyang paid tribute by performing the ‘Wakanda Forever’ celebration in the Community Shield against Liverpool.
Kroos, however, has spoken out about the use of masks during player celebrations: “I find it very silly. Even worse is if there are any objects hidden in their socks,” the midfielder explained. “Aubameyang once celebrated and took out a mask. That’s where it ends with me.”
“I don’t think that’s a good role model, either. What nonsense.”
Whether the use of masks or any celebration using an object or gesture is ‘nonsense’ is down to opinion. It is unlikely, though, that the German’s words will discourage further use or orchestration of such celebrations in the future.