Midfielder Toni Kroos has been named as the German Footballer of the Year for the first time on Sunday – a year after coming second best to Philipp Lahm in 2016-17. The Association of German Sports Journalists (VDS), alongside football magazine Kicker, gave the midfielder 185 of the 475 votes cast to ensure he won the award for the first time in his career.
Kroos, 28, played a key role in midfield for Real Madrid and their third successive Champions League title by beating Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev in May, to add to the UEFA Super Cup, Supercopa de Espana and Club World Cup titles claimed earlier in the season.
Freiburg striker Nils Petersen came in second place with 39 votes, while Schalke defender Naldo finished third after receiving one lesser vote.
“It is and always will be an honour to be Footballer of the Year,” Kroos told Kicker. “This is a prize that is not easy to get, and not everyone gets.” In a social media post, Kroos believed the award was long time coming!
Besser spät als nie😉
Fußballer des Jahres, eine schöne Auszeichnung! Trotz der enttäuschenden WM war’s mit dem 4. CL-Sieg wieder ein spezielles Jahr!
Danke an meine Familie, an alle, die mich unterstützen, meine Teamkollegen und natürlich an alle, die für mich gestimmt haben. pic.twitter.com/IRpnISwyID
— Toni Kroos (@ToniKroos) 5 August 2018
Former Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes gained two more votes than Domenico Tedesco to win the Coach of the Year award. Heynckes had replaced Carlo Ancelotti last October for his fourth stint in charge of Bayern and clinched the Bundesliga title while Tedesco led Schalke to second.
“I am very pleased that I have been voted Coach of the Year by journalists,” said Heynckes. “My big compliment goes to those who did not vote for me because there are many good young coaches in the Bundesliga who also deserve this honour.”
On Kroos, he added: “When I got word from Kicker that Toni Kroos was voted Footballer of the Year, I was very happy for him. More so because – I can say in all modesty – I helped in his career. In my long career as a coach I had a tremendous number of talented players, but with Toni Kroos I quickly felt he was willing to take the professional path.”
“Not only did he listen to and internalise what he was told, he also implemented instructions. He maintained this behaviour for years and the result is a great career.”