Toni Kroos
Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has decided to return to international duty with Germany. AFP / JORGE GUERRER

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has dropped a big surprise ahead of this year's European Championship. Three-time winners Germany will host the competition, and Kroos has decided to be there to help his team aim for a fourth crown. The news is a positive sign for Real Madrid, who are hoping that he will extend his contract beyond the end of the current campaign.

The 34-year-old announced his retirement from international football back in July 2021, after the conclusion of the rescheduled Euro 2020 competition. He has been focusing on club football since then, with speculations swirling around his possible retirement from competitive action in the near future.

However, the decision to come out of retirement and play for Germany in Euro 2024 comes as a pleasant surprise for both Germany and Real Madrid fans. Despite having announced his retirement from international football, he revealed that a call from German coach Julian Nagelsmann has pushed him to reconsider.

In an Instagram post, Kroos made the announcement by sharing a photo of himself wearing the number eight Germany shirt. He captioned the post: "People, short and painless: I will play for Germany again in March. Why? Because I was asked by the national team coach, I'm in the mood and I'm sure that with the team at the European Championship, much more is possible than most believe right now!"

Kroos is still eligible to be selected for the national team squad despite having retired, and it seems as though Nagelsmann has brought a strong case. As confirmed by the midfield maestro, he will return to Die Mannschaft for next month's international friendlies against France and the Netherlands. Those outings will be done in preparation for their Euro 2024 campaign, which will be played on home soil.

It will be a spectacular homecoming for Kroos, especially since Germany will play the opening match of the competition against Scotland at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena on Friday, June 14.

Real Madrid are feeling optimistic about Kroos' decision

According to Mundo Deportivo, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti was consulted before Kroos made his decision. This also gave the club an indication that the German ace is not nearing the end of his career, as he is still feeling motivated enough to re-join the national team squad.

This may mean that he could soon sign a contract extension with the club. At 34, Kroos is expected to make a decision on an annual basis, which is customary for Real Madrid's policy on their veteran players. Despite having had a slow start, he has played a key part in Ancelotti's squad this season and it is understood that the club has already asked him to sign a renewal whenever he is ready to make the decision.

Kroos has been vocal about wanting to end his career with Los Blancos, with no desire to take a lucrative "retirement" gig in lesser leagues such as the MLS and the Saudi Pro League.

There is no doubt that Kroos is a legend both for his national team side and for both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. He was part of Germany's FIFA World Cup winning squad in 2014, and has been capped a total of 106 times thus far.

Meanwhile, he won numerous domestic and European trophies on the club level, including five UEFA Champions League trophies (with Bayern Munich in 2012/13 and with Real Madrid in 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2021/22). He has won the Bundesliga and La Liga three times each, on top of a host of Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and domestic cup titles.

It remains to be seen if this stint with Germany will bring great results, and if it will help fuel the fire for Kroos to continue. With more and more players now playing while pushing 40, then there could be many more years left in his career if he manages to avoid serious injuries and stays motivated.