Ah, Schweinsteiger. What can you possibly not love about the man? Fantastic personality, classy professional and one of the best players to have ever played the game of football.
He has only ever played for two clubs in his entire career – the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester United, no less. Well known as the hero of the World Cup final in 2014, his international career has spanned over 12 years, and 120 caps.
So how has such a top class player suffered so miserably in the last two years?
Schweinsteiger decided to call it quits at Bayern in 2015 after learning about Manchester United’s interest. It goes without saying that the move has backfired.
When the German decided he wanted to move on from Munich and have a new challenge as he approached the final years of his glittering career, the thing that stood out was the club’s willingness to let him go. It apparently even left Manchester City executives bewildered.
Guardiola in particular, did not even attempt to convince the Bavarian legend to stay at the club. And so, without much difficulty, Louis van Gaal got his man, and Schweinsteiger put pen to paper and became a Manchester United player.
What made the deal all the more surprising is that United have a policy against giving players above the age of 30 anything more than one-year contracts. They also do not invest in players above 27. However, the length of the contract offered to the German was three years.
It was only after the completion of the transfer that Guardiola explained the logic behind his decision to let Bastian go.
“When he does not have injury problems, I am completely convinced he will do very well at Manchester United,” the former Barcelona manager said.
“He is going to play really good there (at United). I really hope that is going to happen.”
It didn’t. Guardiola was right. Schweinsteiger’s injury problems have followed him to Manchester and he has suffered at the club. He made only 13 starts under Louis van Gaal, but looked as out of place as a chicken in a sheep herd. As one commentator noted during a match, Schweinsteiger’s legs and body were moving as if he were running at an incredible pace, but he was hardly even covering a few blades of grass.
And now, after the arrival of Jose Mourinho, Schweinsteiger’s Manchester United career is as good as over. But the truth is, it hardly even started in the first place.
He has been banished to the reserves, even clearing out his locker. Mourinho has told him that Carrington is his to use to maintain his fitness, but he would not be allowed to train with the first team.
The 32-year-old’s brother Tobi tweeted out saying ‘No respect’ and many have slammed Mourinho for his disrespectful treatment of Basti.
Yet, in reality, Paul Pogba’s arrival at the club did mean that Schweinsteiger would hardly ever get a game for the club. He would be forced to compete with Pogba, Herrera, Lingard, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Fellaini, Carrick and Schneiderlin for a place in the team, and in that perspective, Mourinho is actually doing him a favour.
He has now announced his retirement from international football after the conclusion of Euro 2016.
It is sad how a player who has won 24 major trophies in his senior career has declined so badly over the last 2 years, but nothing is ever guaranteed in football, and Schweinsteiger has had to find this out the hard way.