Sport Manchester United

Saturday 25 November 2017

Confirmed! Bastian Schweinsteiger pays tribute to Manchester United fans after joining Chicago Fire

Bastian Schweinsteiger has left Manchester United
Bastian Schweinsteiger has left Manchester United

Manchester United have confirmed a deal has been agreed for midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger to join Chicago Fire.

The German World Cup winner has struggled for opportunities since moving to Old Trafford in 2015 and has made only four appearances this season.

Schweinsteiger said on manutd.com: "I am sad to leave so many friends at Manchester United. But I am grateful to the club for allowing me the chance to take up the challenge at Chicago Fire."

The move is subject to a medical and Schweinsteiger obtaining a visa, with the Chicago Tribune reporting a one-year contract has been agreed.

Schweinsteiger joined the Red Devils from Bayern Munich with a reputation as one of the best midfielders of his generation in world football.

But manager Jose Mourinho did not play him this season until a November 30 EFL Cup match against West Ham, and in nearly two years with the club he made just 13 Premier League starts.

His only league goal came in a 1-1 draw with Leicester in November 2015.

At one stage United even wrote him off as an asset in their accounts yet he never complained publicly and remained a very popular figure with the fans.

Schweinsteiger continued on the club website: "I have enjoyed working with the manager, the players and staff here and wish them all the best in the future.

"But I have to reserve special thanks to the United fans whose support has been a very special part of my time in Manchester.

"I was delighted to be part of the squad that won the FA Cup for them last season and will always remember their energy and their passion. Now is the right time for me to start a new chapter in Chicago and I am looking forward to it."

The Chicago Fire are certain he will be of value to them.

Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez told the Chicago Tribune: "We're adding someone who has won at every level, including the very highest levels, and has done so in a way that is consistent with our values.

"We as a club will now be forced to hold ourselves to a higher standard, an accountability level. Previously, I think we could satisfy ourselves with what is known domestically. Now we need to rise to a standard that is set more internationally."

According to the report, Schweinsteiger could join up with his new club as early as next week, on a base annual salary of 4.5 million US dollars (£3.6million) and with an initial one-year contract.

Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said: "We know it's going to take some time and adjustment for him coming to the new league, new coaching staff and everything. We also know we can rely on his capacity to adapt and do that fast.

"He can produce actions that few players in the world can do. He sees (things) that nobody sees. He opens the eyes of the fans, where you can hear the people say, 'Wow!'."

Schweinsteiger won 121 caps for Germany, scoring 24 goals, before retiring from international football last summer.

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