Tipped for the top when he starred repeatedly for Germany at Under-17 level, gifted FC Bayern München midfielder Toni Kroos needed a spell on loan at Bayer 04 Leverkusen before pushing himself into senior international recognition. He firmly established himself in Joachim Löw's side during UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.
• The older brother of SV Werder Bremen striker Felix Kroos, Toni spent four years in the youth academy of FC Hansa Rostock prior to joining Bayern, aged 16, in July 2006.
• Rose to prominence at the 2006 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Luxembourg − where he was named Golden Player for his role in helping Germany finish fourth − was joint top scorer at the finals the following year and collected the Golden Ball as the best performer at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Korea Republic a few months later after scoring five times in six matches.
• Made his UEFA Champions League debut on matchday four of the 2008/09 campaign against ACF Fiorentina before spending the second half of that season on loan at Leverkusen, with whom he was a German Cup runner-up; remained at the BayArena for 2009/10, scoring a career-best nine goals in 33 league outings.
• That earned him his international debut − in a friendly against Argentina on 3 March 2010 − and a place in Germany's squad for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, where he featured four times from the bench as the Nationalmannschaft finished third.
• Not on target in eight appearances as Germany eased through UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, he scored his first international goals against co-hosts Poland (2-2) and Ukraine (3-3) in autumn 2011 friendlies.
• Made a career-best 27 Bundesliga starts in 2011/12 and a further 12 in the UEFA Champions Leaague, including all 120 minutes of Bayern's 'home' final against Chelsea FC.
UEFA Champions League: runner-up 2012
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