Bastian Schweinsteiger is back home and receiving a hero’s welcome.
The Chicago Fire midfielder is with his current team ahead of his testimonial match hosted by Bayern Munich, the club he spent most of his career with. With his career likely winding down, tomorrow’s tribute game is a chance for fans and peers to shower him with the respect and adulation he deserves.
As part of the celebrations this week, Basti has been given a distinguished honor offered to very few people outside of royalty or politics. Earlier today Schweinsteiger was awarded the Bavarian Order Of Merit.
The award is given “recognition of outstanding contributions to the Free State of Bavaria and the Bavarian people.” Schweinsteiger received the award from Minister President of Bavaria Markus Söder. (The Fire’s website incorrectly identified Dr. Söder as the German Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is, of course, Angela Merkel.)
Nationality is not a factor for eligibility. Past recipients include Konrad Adenauer (the first Chancellor of the new German government after WWII), King Baudoin of Belgium, Archduke Otto of Austria, and Princess Gloria of Thurn and Taxis.
It’s kind of a big deal, is what we’re saying.
Basti’s testimonial kicks off at 1:30pm Central Time. It’s only available to stream legally in the US through FloSports. A 1-month subscription costs $10 and, per the service’s FAQ, cannot be shared.