AS MAGICIAN Toni Kroos prepares for his sixth major tournament with Germany, he has popstar Robbie Williams under his spell cheering him on all the way.
The pair have struck up the unlikeliest of friendships over the years.
A quiet, modest 31-year-old German from the small town of Greifswald on the Baltic Sea coast and Stoke’s serial singer-songwriter-entertainer.
Despite their 16-year age gap and the obvious clashes in culture between Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Staffordshire, their bromance has blossomed.
It all started with a single tweet, written in German, on February 13, 2014.
Kroos wrote: “The greatest artist and entertainer of our time is turning 40! Happy Birthday @robbiewilliams”
The tweet has just 64 retweets and 86 likes but sparked the brilliant bond between Kroos and Williams.
Exactly 365 days later came part two: “Happy Birthday to the greatest entertainer of our time! @robbiewilliams #legend”
It was in September 2016 they both went ‘public’ before a series of further tweets and eventually meeting backstage at a Williams concert.
But their adoration for one another reached peak levels in 2018.
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Germany, defending champions, endured a nightmare start to their World Cup defence with defeat to Mexico.
Drawing 1-1 with Sweden deep in the fifth minute of injury time, Joachim Low’s side won a free-kick on the left edge of the box.
A neat one-two with Marco Reus opened up the angle and Kroos swept a flying effort past the Swedish Bodies and into the far corner to keep their tournament dreams alive.
Williams tweeted: “I love you @ToniKroos x” and was gushing in his praise.
The man with seven UK No1 singles said in the Amazon Prime feature-length documentary Kroos: “The wand of the foot he’s got, he’s Merlin.
“I knew that Germany wasn’t doing that great but then one man can kind of turn around the fortunes of a whole nation.
“And in that moment, that was when I thought Germany’s World Cup was going to start. And I think Germany did too.”
Unfortunately for Kroos, Williams and Germany, defeat to South Korea in their final group game meant the hard work had Come Undone and sent Die Mannschaft packing with the Group F wooden spoon.
Kroos, predictably, described Williams’ Reveal autobiography as a ‘must read’.
And the personally-signed Real Madrid ‘Kroos 8’ – one of the gifts the pals have sent each other – is dearly treasured by Robbie.
But it is the way the German dictates on the pitch with his passing quality that leaves his superfan in awe.
Williams added: “The laser passing, the 50-yard pass. It doesn’t loop either way, it just goes straight to the foot of the person.
“I don’t think I’ve ever struck a ball where the ball has done that in my life. He does it regularly, all the time.”
Kroos has written plenty of chapters in his incredible career – individually, for Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Germany.
Real Madrid make me feel small as a person, make me feel as though I’ve got a small p****
His trophy cabinet includes three Bundesligas, two LaLigas, four Champions Leagues, the World Cup and a record five Club World Cups.
Germany are not among the favourites for this Euro 2020 campaign, pitted against the reigning European and world champions Portugal and France respectively in Group F.
So it would take something special for Low's men to reign Supreme come July 11.
But whatever happens, Kroos can have No Regrets – although Manchester United-supporting Williams is still keen for him to perform an encore at Old Trafford before hanging up the boots he cleans himself.
Williams concluded: “Real Madrid make me feel small as a person, make me feel as though I’ve got a small p****.
“We are supposed to have the best league in the world and that doesn’t make me feel good because football is my religion and I don’t want there to be other gods who are bigger.
“Toni’s achieved everything that he can possibly achieve. Right now he should just make sure his future’s completely and utterly safe.
"That being said, come to Manchester United!”
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