Bastian Schweinsteiger Prepares For Germany Swansong, Clings to Manchester United Dream

Bastian Schweinsteiger made 120 appearances for Germany, scoring 24 goals.


Berlin: Bastian Schweinsteiger will wear the Germany jersey one last time on Wednesday, insisting he has not given up on his dream of playing for Manchester United despite Jose Mourinho’s snub.

“My absolute dream is still to play for Manchester United,” Schweinsteiger said on the eve of Germany’s friendly against Finland in Moenchengladbach, which serves as his farewell on his 121st – and final — Germany appearance.

“I have no personal problems with Jose Mourinho, he has explained his side of the situation to me.

“One thing is for sure: I’m not going to stop playing football and I still believe in my own ability.

“I could still help Man United if given a fair chance,” he added at the German FA press conference in Duesseldorf.

“We have to wait to see what happens in September and October and how things will develop.”

United’s coach Mourinho has echoed Schweinsteiger in insisting there is “no problem” between the pair, but the midfielder’s plea for a “fair chance” with Manchester hung in the air in Duesseldorf.

The vastly experienced 32-year-old has captained Germany since Philipp Lahm stood down as die Mannschaft’s skipper after the pair helped win the 2014 World Cup.

His United contract expires in June 2018, leaving him facing the prospect of spending the next two years languishing in United’s reserves, all the while reportedly being paid £160,000 (187,672 euros, $209,338) per week.

Schweinsteiger joined United in 2015 after 17 years with Bayern Munich, which saw him win every major title available to the Bavarian giants.

Outrage in Bavaria

His high-profile transfer to Old Trafford meant he linked up with ex-Bayern manager Louis van Gaal.

But a knee injury in January flared up again on Germany duty in March, so he played just a handful of minutes in the second half of the 2015/16 season.

Germany coach Joachim Loew allowed Schweinsteiger a late cameo off the bench in the opening 2-0 win over Ukraine at the European championships.

He scored with only his third touch of the ball, but was back on the bench for the remaining group stage games and the opening fixtures of the knock-out rounds.

Manuel Neuer captained Germany until the semi-final defeat to hosts France, the only Euro 2016 game Schweinsteiger started.

Following his celebrity wedding to tennis star Ana Ivanovic in July, new-arrival Mourinho made it clear Schweinsteiger’s Old Trafford honeymoon was over.

The German was one of nine players told to clear his first-team locker and train with the Under-23s.

But while others transferred out of Old Trafford, Schweinsteiger insisted on staying.

Mourinho’s snub of Schweinsteiger led to outrage in Bavaria.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said such treatment showed “a lack of respect for a worthy player”, but Munich’s new head coach Carlo Ancelotti said Schweinsteiger “was not part” of their plans.

‘Very difficult’

Last Friday, Mourinho effectively closed the door on Schweinsteiger playing for the seniors this season, saying it would be “very difficult” for the German, given competition for midfield places at United.

“We have a decision completely made about Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick,” said Mourinho.

“We have five players for two positions. It’s very difficult that an opportunity will arrive.”

With speculation rife that Schweinsteiger’s Old Trafford exit was imminent, he took to Facebook last week to insist United will “be his last club in Europe”.

Ex-Germany coach Rudi Voeller, who gave Schweinsteiger his international debut back in 2004, said the United midfielder still has “at least two years playing at the top” left in him.

And in Tuesday’s press conference, Schweinsteiger admitted the North American MLS might be a future option, should things not improve in Manchester over the course of the season.

The Finland friendly is a chance for Schweinsteiger to show Mourinho what he can do, but is the first to admit that with no first-team football under his belt, he may struggle for fitness.

“I’m so happy that I was able to make it to 120 games for Germany,” said Schweinsteiger.

“I haven’t played a game yet (this season), so I don’t know how the lungs will hold up.”

The transfer window closes at midnight on Wednesday.

United’s directors must be hoping an overseas offer emerges in the January window so their expensive asset does not spend the next two years with the reserves.

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