Thursday 18 January 2018

Schweinsteiger hits back at Beckenbauer's MLS suggestion

Bastian Schweinsteiger has been hailed as
Bastian Schweinsteiger has been hailed as "the ultimate professional" by Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal

Mark Ogden

Bastian Schweinsteiger will make his Manchester United debut in Seattle on Friday after rejecting claims by Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer that a move to the MLS would have ‘made more sense’ for the Germany captain.

Schweinsteiger, who completed a £15 million move to Old Trafford from Bayern earlier this week, is expected to play in United’s friendly against Club America at CenturyLink Field as Louis van Gaal’s begin their four-game pre-season tour of the United States.

The 30-year-old’s decision to leave the Allianz Arena for the Premier League has caused surprise in Germany, however, with Beckenbauer, who left Bayern at the age of 32 to sign for New York Cosmos in 1977, the most high-profile figure to question Schweinsteiger’s move.

"I find it very brave to make a move like this at his age," Beckenbauer said. "People know Schweinsteiger at Bayern and know what he can do.

“That's not the case in England and he will have to prove himself all over again. I wish him all the best and hope he can represent German football well in England, but not a lot of players have succeeded in doing so.

"A move to the MLS would have made more sense for me.”

Having missed fifty of Bayern’s first-team games over the past two seasons due to a variety of injuries, Schweinsteiger admits that he faces a ‘challenge’ in the Premier League.

When reminded of Beckenbauer’s comments, however, Schweinsteiger rolled his eyes and insisted he is still too young to consider a move to the States.

“I don't know when Beckenbauer moved to America, but I am 30,” Schweinsteiger said. “It is a challenge for me to prove I can do it here, but I am confident I can adjust to the Premier League.

“I had my knee trouble after the World Cup which was very intensive for me and I had a break in October.

“But I have a lot of experience in big matches and that is an advantage. My style of play is to control a game, so you have to be smart in your brain and fast. I want to make a positive impact and I think I can contribute a lot to the team.”

Schweinsteiger’s arrival at United has contributed to Van Gaal’s spending since becoming manager last July climb to £225m.

The outlay on new players – fellow new signings Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian and Morgan Schneiderlin are also set to face Club America – has increased the expectancy at Old Trafford and placed Van Gaal under pressure to oversee a title challenge this season.

But having won eight Bundesliga titles and a Champions League with Bayern, Schweinsteiger insists he can add to his trophy haul by winning the Premier League at United.

“Absolutely, that is my goal for my time here,” Schweinsteiger said. “I want to win titles and this is what Manchester United is used to and I am the same.

“I cannot guarantee titles, but I will guarantee that we will do everything to be successful in the season.

“I know the club is looking forward to winning titles again and I am the same. Bayern Munich is a big club, but Manchester United are bigger and I can see that. They are the biggest club in the world and I am sure this team has the quality to win titles.

“When I see what we do in training and the quality we have, I am sure we have the chance to win titles. I am convinced about that and I want to add my quality to United's game.”

Schweinsteiger will become the first German to play for United when he makes his debut for the club on Friday, but he admits he could have made the move to Old Trafford five years ago and realised the dream of his brother, Tobias.

“I had the chance to come to United in 2010,” Schweinsteiger said. “I thought about what to do because there were opportunities.

 “My goal was always to win the Champions League with my club Bayern Munich, but now I am happy to be here and so is my brother.

“My brother is a huge Manchester United fan. He is a big Eric Cantona and Ryan Giggs fan, but it was always also my dream to be a Manchester United player.

“I saw the 1999 Champions League final at home. My brother had the United jersey on and I had Bayern's. I didn't cry at the end, but my brother was very happy.

“I always followed the Premier League and we watched a lot of United games, so this is also a good move for my brother.”

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