Real Madrid wasted little time in kicking-off their preparations for the 2019-20 season by securing Toni Kroos to a new long-term contract.
The new deal, which will run until 2023 on improved terms, may not mark the start of a squad overhaul many are expecting at the Bernabéu this season but it is a positive and welcoming start.
Good news or bad news? The German came in for plenty of criticism this season, especially in the second half of the campaign, but he was not alone. Many expected the midfielder to move on this summer but Zidane snuffed out rumours of his departure as early as possible.
Wholesale changes are not always the answer and in Kroos, Madrid have a natural-born winner, someone who has excelled in his home country, on the world stage and, for the most part, during his stint in the Spanish capital.
Indeed, Kroos himself admitted that he was not at the top of his game this season during the press conference covering his new deal and Zidane is convinced enough to thwart all rumours of a potential departure with a new deal.
The 29-year-old has earned the right to be a key cog in Zidane’s squad next season, being a crucial component in the three consecutive Champions League triumphs. An off-season he may have had but he is one of the current squad who deserves another crack of the whip in 2019-20.
With the youth and relatives inexperience that come come in at the Bernabéu this summer, as well as the possible departure of some of the older heads, Madrid needs to keep the winning mentality instilled in the squad and with Kroos he has that in abundance.
“We’re motivated for next season,” Kroos said. “I’m happy to stay at Madrid four more years.
“I spoke to Zidane and I know what his idea is. I will be important (in the team).”
More new deals are expected to follow soon, with Luka Modric, Raphael Varane, Nacho and Karim Benzema said to be the long-term players set to remain at the club on new deals.