Kroos will leave at the top - Ancelotti


Toni Kroos emotional after leaving Santiago Bernabeu pitch for the final time

Toni Kroos is met with a standing ovation and shares an emotional moment with his family on the pitch after being subbed off one final time for Real Madrid.

By Fernando Kallas

MADRID, May 25 (Reuters) - Real Madrid were lucky to be able to count on Toni Kroos for a decade, manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Saturday, after the German midfielder bade an emotional farewell to fans in his final home game at a sold-out Santiago Bernabeu.

Ancelotti heaped praise on Kroos's personality and character, saying the 34-year-old German will quit at the highest point of a great career.

"One of the greatest, obviously. A very high-quality midfielder, with a fantastic character, with a small ego, very humble and always at the service of the team, very altruistic. What luck to have had him for 10 years," Ancelotti told a press conference.

"To do better than Kroos has done, in this team, is very complicated. He has made a very strong decision (to retire), because nobody could have imagined it, but he has shown a lot of character and to say goodbye like that is great.

"It is the farewell of a great football character and, I repeat, we have been lucky to have him here. Football has enjoyed a great player."

A goalless draw with Real Betis was largely irrelevant with Real confirmed as LaLiga champions and they face Borussia Dortmund next Saturday in the Champions League final, which will be Kroos's last game for the Spanish club as they bid for a record-extending 15th European title.

"Hopefully, we can lift the Champions League trophy next Saturday. It would be a great farewell to a legend," Ancelotti said. (Reporting by Fernando Kallas, editing by Ed Osmond)