From the performance on the pitch to their treatment of some of their most loyal supports, there is nothing to smile about the Chicago Fire this season. But there is one person in the team to smile about: Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Earlier this year the club announced they were flying to Germany to hold a testimonial match with Basti’s original club, Bayern Munich. Basti never really got a proper goodbye when he left the Bavarian giants for Manchester United— and he certainly didn’t get one at all from the latter. Tuesday was going to be his day, and he deserved every moment of it.
When Basti arrived to Chicago last year, he came with much fanfare and hope. He boasted winners medals for the Bundesliga, the Champions League, and the World Cup. To this day that still boggles my mind that a World Cup champion would ever consider playing for the Fire.
Basti quickly integrated with the team, scoring on his debut.
Outside of the confines of Toyota Park, he quickly immersed himself in our city. A quick glance at his Twitter or Instagram feed and you can tell that he genuinely enjoys living in the city of Chicago. From walks around Lake Shore Dr. to taking the sights of the Loop, he seems to love every moment here.
Yet Basti isn’t here to live the good life. He is here to play the sport he loves. You can tell that he wants to help out the Fire in any means possible. He may be raking in a huge paycheck at the end of the day, but unlike other aging European DPs out in the league, he’s contributing and making a difference for his team. He was one of the driving forces that helped the Fire reach the playoffs in eons. This year may be in the gutter, but Basti is doing his best out there with what the team was given. He’s not a centerback, but he is willing to play that role because Basti is a winner. It’s a shame that the results as of late don’t reflect his determination.
But Tuesday was his day. Surrounded by current and former teammates, beset on all sides by adoring fans, Schweinsteiger reminded everyone why he is Der Fußballgott.
Congratulations on you storied career Basti, and thank you for trying to make the Fire a better team. It’s a shame that things aren’t working out for you here in Chicago this season, but for a brief time, you had us all smiling.