Toni Kroos completes $41 Million move to Real Madrid from Bayern Munich !

Delighted: Real Madrid president Florentino Perez unveils Toni Kroos following his move

Toni Kroos has completed his £24million move to Real Madrid from Bayern Munich.

The German champions announced on Thursday morning that an agreement had been reached between the clubs and he would make an immediate transfer.

Kroos’ contract was due to expire next summer and the World Cup winner has penned a six-year deal at the Bernabeu.

Real deal: Toni Kroos has signed for Real Madrid from Bayern Munich for £24m

That year they also clinched the Champions League, before winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup last season.

In total, Kroos made 173 Bundesliga appearances, scoring 23 goals, 13 for Bayern and 10 during an 18-month loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen.

Welcome aboard: Kroos is greeted by  Assistant coach Fernando Hierro

The midfielder was an ever-present for Germany at the World Cup, lifting the trophy in Rio de Janeiro last Sunday.

He joins compatriot Sami Khedira in Madrid and will be presented to the media later on Thursday after undergoing a medical.

David Beckham Retires From Football

The first footballer to become a global brand and the leader of England’s ill-fated ‘golden generation’, David Beckham leaves a greater mark in the celebrity annals than at the very top of the game he graced for 20 years.

Across football there is unqualified admiration for Beckham’s perseverance in forcing his way back into the picture after his ill-judged move to LA Galaxy, where he soon realised what he was missing on the big European stage.

When the end came he was back in Champions League action, like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, two of his contemporaries in Manchester United’s hallowed class of 1992. But his place in the football pantheon is lower as a consequence of his decision to pursue fame as well as football when he was still in his prime at Old Trafford.

Opinion will veer between excessive praise and unfair disparagement of a player who is thoroughly likeable as a man and committed in just about everything he does. His acute sense of how the celebrity industry works and how to extend the reach of his image is exceptional even by today’s standards of industrialised PR.

Somewhere between becoming a floppy-haired poster boy on the right side of Manchester United’s midfield and a Clark Gable lookalike in Paris, Beckham worked out how to be famous for more than just a good dead-ball delivery and a passion for the game.

The lad from Leytonstone moved through all these gears effortlessly and ended up in Paris via Beverly Hills. But he is not to be compared with the greatest players of his generation.

Even at United he would sit behind Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo and Giggs and Scholes, who remained members of the United cult while Beckham was fluttering away to Real Madrid, where he recovered from a mid-season crisis to win La Liga in Fabio Capello’s team.

Internationally, he could not match the Brazilian Ronaldo, Ronaldinho or Zinedine Zidane either, because the range of his gifts was too narrow to be compared with those masters.

But he was always thrusting himself onto the same page as them, if not the same paragraph, by virtue of his extraordinary stamina as an athlete and his expert ball-striking, which spoke of a childhood obsession with practice.

There is no reason to run Beckham down as a footballer. Nor are there grounds to overstate his talent. At United many feel he weakened his status as a natural born footballer by pursuing so many commercial and PR opportunities before leaving for Madrid.

The great miscalculation of his career was assuming the good times had passed after his England career seemed to have ended and his time at the Bernabéu turned sour. Moving to LA took him and Victoria to Hollywood but left him stranded in a team that were beneath his profile and abilities.

With his roving eye for fame, though, Beckham became a highly effective ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic bid, though his political clout could not secure him a place in Stuart Pearce’s Team GB squad.

All the while he was shifting towards the kind of national role Tony Blair might have designed for him were he still in power. PSG started out as publicity opportunity for the club but ended with Beckham playing a credible if limited part in their late-season exploits.

In the stampede to the exit, Beckham joins Michael Owen, Scholes, Jamie Carragher and Ferguson himself, who wearied of his limelight-addiction, which was contrary to the code of ‘Fergie’s fledglings’. He left, the others stayed unless forced to leave by an inability to make the side (Nicky Butt, Phil Neville).

Sitting on his money mountain, Beckham will doubtless feel justified in making the most of his film star qualities while the rest of the class of 92 stayed close to home.

England is where the falsehoods really showed. Sven-Goran Eriksson was in thrall to his fame (still is), and allowed Beckham too much power as captain. When the country needed a serious marshalling of some good players, from 2002-2006, it fell instead into a narcissistic state as the Premier League invaded markets around the world.

Some Football Association employees behaved like Beckham’s personal acolytes. He was commercial dynamite. The power to dazzle those became most apparent in 2002 when Japanese girls queued to book into his old room at England’s team base on Awaji Island. Just to occupy a room Beckham had once been in was enough for these besotted new disciples.

But who would want to take away from his century of England caps, his league titles in four countries, his promising future on whatever stage he chooses?

Football was his vehicle, but it was also his first love, and he used it to beat the system everywhere he went.

Messi claims fourth “Ballon d’Or” award !

Lionel Messi

LIONEL MESSI has netted the prestigious Ballon d’Or for an unprecedented FOURTH time.

Barcelona ace Messi, 25, pipped Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and team-mate Andres Iniesta at the glittering awards ceremony in Zurich.

The European Ballon d’Or, last won by the Argie in 2009, merged with FIFA’s World Player of the Year award in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

And Messi, who broke Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record last month by scoring 91 goals in a calendar year, had backed Iniesta to scoop the prize.

But the humble hitman got the nod to add to his growing collection of gongs — compunding what has been a miserable season so far for rival star Ronaldo.

With his side currently a whopping 16 points adrift of La Liga leaders Barca, Ron made his feelings clear in the build-up to the big night by claiming “life would go on” if he failed to win.

FINE MESS ... Messi receives the 2012 Ballon D'Or from Fabio Cannavar

FINE MESS … Messi receives the 2012 Ballon D’Or from Fabio Cannavaro

The former Manchester United man, 27, said: “If I win, perfect — if I don’t, never mind, life goes on.

“But obviously I’d love to win. I’m not going to lie or be hypocritical.

“Fair or unfair, the decision will be what it will. I’ll be very happy maybe or very sad, but that’s life.”

WHAT A LINE UP ... the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, top (l-r): Ronaldo, Marcello, Ramos, Pique, Alves, Casillas. Bottom (l-r) Falcao, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso

WHAT A LINE UP … the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, top (l-r): Ronaldo, Marcello, Ramos, Pique, Alves, Casillas. Bottom (l-r) Falcao, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso
Lionel Messi wins Ballon D'Or

EUROPE’S FINEST … Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta
POLKA FACE ... Messi at the Ballon D'Or awards ceremony in Zurich

POLKA FACE … Messi at the Ballon D’Or awards ceremony in Zurich
THREE AND EASY ... Lionel Messi has won the past three Ballon d'Or awards

THREE AND EASY … Lionel Messi has won the past three Ballon d’Or awards.