Kroos: The Champions League gives us special powers

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The Champions League brings out the best in Real Madrid, something Toni Kroos has acknowledged.

It is often said that Los Blancos play extra well when the Champions League music plays and this may be because the tournament unlocks something inside of the players.

“This competition is the hardest to win, maybe that unleashes special powers in us,” he told UEFA.com.

“Emotions always play a part, especially on Champions League nights at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

“You can see that in our performances.

“A lot of the players have played in plenty of big games and we can stay calm in difficult situations because we know we can beat everybody.

“Even when we aren’t winning, we can change a game.

“We’ve experienced lots of situations so we don’t get anxious.”

As Kroos gets ready to take on the side he played for between 2006 and 2014, he has warned that he expects Los Blancos to have an even tougher time than they did in last year’s quarter-final.

“Of course it’s special when you play against a team you represented for six or seven years,” added the Germany international.

“I’ll see a lot of players I used to play with, or who I still play with in the national team.

“I played under Jupp Heynckes myself for a long time and I know he’s a top coach.

“When he came back, he changed the feeling of the whole team.

“Since he arrived, they’ve played much better so I think they’re harder to beat than last year but we’ll see.”

Having broken the Champions League hoodoo in 2017 by becoming the first team in the modern era of the competition ever to retain it, Kroos has revealed that even the players themselves didn’t anticipate such success.

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“The Champions League is a tough competition and, of course, winning it twice in row is a great achievement,” continued Kroos.

“The 2016 final was my second one. I played in 2012 when Bayern lost and I didn’t play in 2013 due to injury so it was special to win and have the feeling that I’d contributed to our success.

“It was special to retain it because no team had ever managed to win it twice in a row.

“It will be difficult for any team to repeat that. I don’t think anyone expected that before the start of the season.”

Kroos concluded by paying tribute to coach Zinedine Zidane, who he revealed is a calm presence behind the scenes and whose stellar playing career garnered him instant respect in the job.

“Everyone knows what a player he was and the character he is,” Kroos said.

“The team’s morale with him is great and that is really important.

“He experienced everything as a world-class midfielder, which is why we accept what he says and try to implement it.

“He doesn’t need to use a loudspeaker, we all listen to him.”

The first leg of the clash with Bayern Munich takes place at 20:45 CET on Wednesday evening.

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