Even when you know it’s coming, it still hurts.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Der Fußballgott, announced his retirement this morning.
Nun ist die Zeit gekommen: ich danke Euch und meinen Mannschaften @FCBayern, @ManUtd, @ChicagoFire und @DFB_Team. Natürlich danke ich auch meiner Frau @AnaIvanovic und meiner Familie für Ihre Unterstützung. pic.twitter.com/SrCdP8m6ia— Basti Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) October 8, 2019
In the announcement, Schweinsteiger thanked his clubs, the German National Team, and the fans, saying that “I will always have a place for you in my heart.”
With the announcement, the 35-year-old midfielder closes the book on an incredible playing career stretching nearly three decades. Basti spent the vast majority of his club career with Bayern Munich, coming up through their youth system and breaking into the senior first team in 2002. He was an essential part of a Bayern war machine that won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal titles, and the UEFA Champions League.
All the while, Basti built a tremendous international career. Since breaking into the senior German squad in 2004, Schweinsteiger earned 121 caps and took home a World Cup winner’s medal in 2014.
After leaving Bayern in 2015, Schweinsteiger signed with Manchester United, playing two largely forgettable seasons with only an FA Cup win to show for it.
When the Chicago Fire announced they had signed him early in the 2017 season, it was, to put it mildly, a game-changer. Fire President Nelson Rodriguez said as much in the club’s official press release.
“Ahead of the 2017 season, we specifically identified what we sought in a franchise player: sublime skill, a world-class competitive spirit, elite fútbol IQ and, ultimately, a champion, on and off the field,” Rodriguez said. “It has been an honor to have him defend our badge.”
New club owner Joe Mansueto echoed that praise for one of the greatest players of his generation.
“Basti has meant so much to our Club. It was an absolute pleasure to watch him play. His soccer IQ is so elite, you can see that he’s three steps ahead at every turn. He’s a leader, a great teammate and a generational player who put Chicago Fire on the world map.”
Between a new owner, the impending move to Soldier Field (more on that later this morning), and the departure of our marquee player, the Fire in 2020 will look very different.