Santo Andre: Brazil's misery could yet be Real Madrid's gain with Germany star Toni Kroos poised to join the Spanish giants from Bayern Munich on the back of an outstanding World Cup.
The 24-year-old produced a man-of-the-match display with two goals and a pin-point accurate corner for Thomas Mueller's opener in the stunning 7-1 rout of Brazil in the semi-final on Tuesday. But with his Munich contract set to expire in June 2015, Bayern's numerous renewal offers have all been rejected by Kroos.
On the eve of Germany's quarter-final win over France, Spanish newspaper Marca said a deal worth 25 million euros (US$34m) has been signed to take him to Real.
"I will be saying something only after the tournament," has been his standard reply to questions about his future plans. According to Munich-based tabloid TZ, Bayern have now withdrawn their offer of a new contract after Kroos wanted his salary raised from four to ten million euros.
That would have made him one of the club's top earners alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. At the start of the year, the British media insisted Manchester United were poised to take Kroos to England.
But according to reports, United's in-coming manager Louis van Gaal did not rate Kroos from his two years as Bayern coach before being fired in 2011. But having played all six Brazil 2014 matches in an attacking midfield role, Kroos has been one of Germany's many World Cup success stories with four assists so far.
"Toni puts the ball every time where it needs to go," said veteran striker Miroslav Klose who claimed his 16th World Cup goal to make him the competition's all-time sole top-scorer. Germany coach Joachim Loew says Kroos has been the key to their run to Sunday's final at Rio's iconic Maracana Stadium.
"Toni is someone who has brought plenty of movement to the team in the last two years," said Loew with Kroos' having won his 50th cap for Germany on Tuesday. "He is in very good form at the moment and he has contributed significantly to our success." Kroos played down his outstanding semi-final performance.
Certainly, it will be more valuable to his future employer to have a world champion on their books "It wasn't so bad, I have also other good games," he said on his performance against Brazil. "The main thing now is to stay focused for the final, we haven't won anything yet."