BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire defender Bastian Schweinsteiger Tuesday announced his retirement from professional soccer.
A winner of 23 major trophies, including the World Cup and the UEFA Champions League, Schweinsteiger emds an 18-year playing career as one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport.
“Basti has meant so much to our club,” Fire owner and chairman Joe Mansueto said. “It was an absolute pleasure to watch him play. His soccer IQ is so elite, you can see that he’s three steps ahead at every turn. He’s a leader, a great teammate and a generational player who put Chicago Fire on the world map. I’d like to say, on behalf of the club: Danke, Basti.”
A native of Kolbermoor, Germany, Schweinsteiger, 35, made 619 first team appearances with the Fire, Bayern Munich and Manchester United. During his 18-year career, Schweinsteiger recorded 78 goals and 118 assists at the club level, while also notching 24 goals on the international stage for Germany.
“Ahead of the 2017 season, we specifically identified what we sought in a franchise player: sublime skill, a world-class competitive spirit, elite fútbol IQ and, ultimately, a champion, on and off the field,” Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodrίguez said. “Our first choice, in the entire world, was Basti. Three seasons later, he has changed how the Chicago Fire is viewed around the globe. We are now a club of choice. It has been an honor to have him defend our badge. Chicagoans, like those in Munich and Manchester, easily appreciated his effort, his skill and his gritty elegance. He will always be revered by our fans. Danke, Basti.”
In his three MLS seasons, Basti made 85 appearances (83 starts) in league play, recording eight goals and 15 assists. Schweinsteiger also was named an MLS all-star two times, serving as captain against Real Madrid at Soldier Field (2017) before competing against Atlético Madrid at Exploria Stadium (2019).
“It was a great pleasure and experience working with Basti during the last three years, and we’re honored that we accompanied him in his last adventure as a fútbol player,” Fire head coach Veljko Paunović said. “Although we celebrate with him the culmination of a career filled with success, greatness and charisma, we’re very sad that he’s leaving. We will always remember the powerful moment when he announced his retirement to the team in the locker room after the game against Orlando. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime. Through his love and knowledge of the game and his experience, Bastian was a great resource for everyone in our Club, and I personally feel like I’ve learned a lot from him. We’re happy that we can proudly say that ‘Die Fussballgott’ will be a part of our fútbol family forever. Danke, Basti.”
Schweinsteiger began his professional career with Bayern Munich in 2002 after spending four years in their youth system. During his 13-year tenure, he won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal (German Cup) championships and a UEFA Champions League trophy (2013). He also was named Bundesliga Player of the Year for the 2012-13 campaign. Following an extensive and successful career with Bayern Munich, Schweinsteiger spent two seasons (2015-17) with ManU in the English Premier League, before signing with Chicago March 21, 2017.
Basti made 121 appearances (100 starts) for the German national team from 2004-2018. Schweinsteiger, who played an integral role in Germany capturing the 2014 World Cup, also made three World Cup appearances (2006, 2010, 2014) and four UEFA European Championship appearances (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016). He also holds the nation’s record for the most UEFA European Championship appearances (18).