Kroos: Madrid struggles 'normal' after Champions League dominance
Toni Kroos insists Real Madrid's apparently underwhelming season was in fact "normal" in comparison to their three Champions League triumphs in succession.
Though Madrid prevailed in the FIFA Club World Cup, Los Blancos claimed no other silverware in a campaign that saw brief reigns for Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari before Zinedine Zidane returned having left in the wake of last season's Champions League victory.
A 2-0 defeat to Real Betis on the final day of the season ensured Madrid finished 19 points behind champions Barcelona in LaLiga, having been knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League by Ajax, while Barca dumped them out of the Copa del Rey in the semi-finals.
But Kroos signed a new deal on Monday and says he had no issues committing his future to the club despite their struggles this term.
"For me this renewal is special for me, it's a good sign from the club, I've got a very special relationship with the club," said the Germany international, who committed to Madrid until 2023.
"Since the first day the club have had a lot of confidence in me, I've helped the club to win a lot of titles. Together we're going to try to achieve a lot more success. If I had doubts about my future I wouldn't be here today.
"This year I don't think any player really reached their top level. When that happens in a lot of players it's difficult to have success. We're all human beings. This is probably normal after winning three successive Champions Leagues.
"What's not normal is winning three successive Champions Leagues. I thought that was impossible, but we did it. It's probably a bit normal to not be at the highest level.
19 – @FCBarcelona have finished 19 points clear of Real Madrid this season – it’s their biggest lead over them at any stage of a La Liga campaign since 1990-91 (19 points after 37 games, adjusted to 3 points). Abyss. pic.twitter.com/nr3lJkR6ZQ— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 20, 2019
"The club's going to change things, I'm happy to be here for another four years and I'm sure we're going to have success together.
"When I see the semi-finals of the Champions League, the English clubs gave everything to come to this final, there you could see how difficult it is to win three times in a row this competition.
"The only thing we can do is to prepare for the next season, then we'll see how it's going. I'm still happy here not only when we things, but I'm still happy to improve again and that's what we're going to do."
In contrast to the success he has enjoyed in the Champions League, Kroos has won LaLiga just once in his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Explaining their domestic difficulties, Kroos added: "We've lacked consistency in the league the last couple of years.
"In previous years we've been at maximum level when we've had to be at maximum level, to do that for 38 games is difficult, we have to improve a lot."