Felix Kroos has stated that gaining Bundesliga promotion with Union Berlin is his equivalent of winning the FIFA World Cup, which his brother Toni did in 2014.
For younger sibling Felix, there have always been comparisons with his brother. Blond central midfielders who share a strong physical resemblance, there is little to tell the two apart. Yet their footballing worlds are vastly different.
Older brother Toni is a three-time Bundesliga champion and UEFA Champions League winner with Bayern Munich, while he has more recently won a La Liga title in Spain to go with three further European honours. And then of course there was the 2014 World Cup with Germany in Brazil, where Kroos Sr. played every minute, scoring two goals and providing four assists.
Watch: Toni Kroos: Made in the Bundesliga
Felix, however, boasts no club honours and a solitary bronze Fritz Walter Medal from 2009 for Germany’s best U18 players. Toni won gold the previous year.
It’s a shadow large enough to engulf any brother and make them question their footballing career. And the Berlin midfielder admitted he has had his troubles coming to terms with comparisons.
“Of course it was tough. It was a process I had to go through,” the Greifswald native said. “I can’t compare myself to Toni. When you look at what Toni’s achieved in his career, who else can claim that? Almost no one can stand up to that.
“I always found the comparison with Toni unfair but I understand it’s an automatic thing to happen,” added the younger Kroos, who instead chooses to look at his own relative success, namely his recent promotion and contract extension with Union.
While Felix has six previous Bundesliga campaigns under his belt with Werder Bremen, the coming 2019/20 season is a special one for him and Union as the club makes its top-flight bow.
“I’ve worked for three and a half years here to achieve promotion,” Kroos stated. “Now I want to be there when we can enjoy the fruit of our labours and play in the Bundesliga.”