Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is ending his active career. The 2014 World Cup winner made the announcement on social media: "Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic, but I am also looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me soon. I will remain faithful to football," wrote the 35-year-old.
"I would like to thank both you and my teams FC Bayern, Manchester United, Chicago Fire and the German National Team. You made this unbelievable time possible for me! And of course, I would also like to thank my wife Ana Ivanovic and my family for their support," he went on.
Until recently, the 121 time Germany international had been playing for Chicago Fire in the Major Soccer League. He played his last game on Sunday as they beat Orlando City 5-2. Schweinsteiger spent the majority of his career with the German record champions Bayern München, for whom he made 500 competitive appearances. During his time in Munich, he won eight German championships, seven DFB-Pokal titles and the Champions League. With the national team, he finished third in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup tournaments before winning the title itself in 2014. He and Germany also finished as runners up at the 2008 EUROS.
“He was absolutely one of the biggest players Germany has ever had,” said head coach Joachim Löw on Tuesday. “He was a huge player and a huge personality in the dressing room.” Everyone still has that image of the World Cup finals in mind in 2014, when Schweinsteiger got up again and again even with blood on his jersey. Löw continued: "He fought until he fell over, you could see his will to win in every single thing he did." He will always have a place in the DFB family.
Schweinsteiger had taken over the captaincy of Philipp Lahm after the World Cup triumph in Rio and kept it until his retirement from the national team in 2016. The midfielder is the fifth member of the 2014 World Cup-winning squad to hang up his boots after Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose and Roman Weidenfeller.