Toni Kroos was left kicking himself upon signing a new contract at Bayern Munich in 2010 despite feeling the club didn’t appreciate him.
Kroos got his big break in senior-level football at just 17 years old with Bayern, where he quickly came through the youth ranks after joining in 2006.
But opportunities in Germany’s biggest club were hard to come by for a teenage Kroos. Therefore, Bayern opted to send him out on loan at Bayer Leverkusen from January 2009 to 2010.
Despite a slow start at the BayArena, Kroos soon found his feet and became a prominent figure in the Leverkusen line-up. Once his loan deal expired, though, the German had to return to Bayern.
And the Bavarians quickly convinced a dubious Kroos to sign a long-term contract, which left him furious with himself afterwards.
In a film documentary on his life and career, the now-Real Madrid midfielder opened up on his days at Bayern.
“I was often told how great I was and how I was doing everything right,” said Kroos, according to Goal.
“Still I did not play. I was convinced I deserved more.
“Originally I did not want to return [from Leverkusen]. When I signed my extension, I rued it ten minutes later.
“While I signed the contract, [Bayern chairman] Karl-Heinz Rummenigge commented: ‘Wow, you have got a great contract now.’ It was like he told me: ‘So now you have to play a little better.'”
Kroos eventually did break into the Bayern first-team and played a big role in their Champions League success in 2013. He also won three Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokals.
The World Cup winner ended up making a total of 205 appearances for Bayern, while providing 24 goals and 49 assists.
These exploits convinced Real to sign Kroos in 2014 in a reported fee of up to €30m. The German has since become a key member of Los Blancos’ European domination in the last five years and signed a new deal in May.