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Germany great Kroos pens emotional farewell post to soccer

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MUNICH (AP) — Over and out.

Germany great Toni Kroos officially bid farewell to soccer on Sunday, two days after his team’s dramatic loss to Spain in the quarterfinals of the European Championship.

Substitute Mikel Merino’s game-winning goal in the last minute of extra time handed Spain a 2-1 victory, knocked out the host nation and ended Kroos’ playing career.

“So that’s it,” Kroos wrote in a post on Instagram on Sunday. “But before I take a break and at least try to realize what happened over the last 17 years I don’t want to miss the opportunity to say thank you to everyone accepting me how and who I am.”

The 2014 World Cup winner went on to thank his fans, clubs, coaches and teammates, as well as his friends and family, adding that there is “nothing better (than) to see your kids being proud of daddy.”

Kroos won a host of titles, mostly with Real Madrid, but also with Bayern Munich — six Champions Leagues, four Spanish leagues, three Bundesligas, three German Cups and one Copa del Rey.

The 34-year-old Kroos announced in May that he would retire at the end of Euro 2024.

That meant that his 114th match for Germany turned out to be his last.

Kroos ended his post with the words: “last but not least: Thank you Football! You beautiful game. And… you‘re welcome! Over and out.”

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024