On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from football. Schweinsteiger played 500 games for Bayern in all competitions, scoring 68 goals and registering 100 assists for the club. A World Cup winner with Germany in 2014 he also won the Champions League with Bayern in 2013 as well as eight German championships.
In 2015 he left Bayern for Manchester United. The English Premier League under manager Louis van Gaal was supposed to be a new beginning. Van Gaal reinvented Schweinsteiger in 2009/10 turning him from a winger – a position that because of his lack of speed, did not suit him – to a central midfielder.
At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Schweinsteiger - as a central midfielder - was among the best players at the tournament. In fact, he almost single handedly reinvented the role of the holding midfielder in Germany – without Schweinsteiger there would be no Naby Keïta at Leipzig and later Liverpool or Thiago at Bayern.
It was, however, a difficult marriage between Manchester United and Schweinsteiger. Injuries held him back in his first season, and then under José Mourinho, he seldom got to start. But Schweinsteiger always stayed classy never complaining about his reduced role and when MLS called left the club on good terms.
Having gone to North America to join the Chicago Fire, Schweinsteiger has never been shy about promoting Bayern. Stateside is one thing, but also in Canada. Visits to the numerous FC Bayern Munich fan clubs around America is just as important than taking pictures of teammates with fans, who have failed to recognize the World Cup winner.
Not that Schweinsteiger minds the anonymity of life in the United States. "It is easier to take a walk on the street but don't forget that Chicago is a big sports city with many fans,” Schweinsteiger said in an interview with Marca.“But yes, it is easier to take a stroll on the street," he added.
The 34-year-old enjoys life with the Chicago Fire even if his new club has struggled at times in MLS. Reaching the playoffs and ultimately winning a title remains a goal, but what about after?
Recently there has been talk in Germany that Schweinsteiger could return to Bayern one day.
"Everything is possible, but right now, I still see myself as a player on the field, and then we'll see,” Schweinsteiger said in his interview with Marca. “I will visit the team whenever I can. I don't know what will happen in the future."
One year ago, Bayern hosted the Chicago Fire and Bastian Schweinsteiger for his official FC Bayern Munich testimonial. Playing for both sides, Schweinsteiger scored once for Bayern as his former club beat his current team 4-0.
The result, however, was almost secondary in the game. What was noticeable was the hype the game created. Bayern fans packed the Allianz Arena to see Schweinsteiger live in action one last time and there was a general sense that the fans expect the legend to return one day to the team he lifted the Champions League trophy with.