Bastian Schweinsteiger will have a key role on and off the pitch for Chicago Fire but won’t have an easy ride in Major League Soccer, warned a former Germany team-mate who played for the MLS side.
The 32-year-old Schweinsteiger, a World Cup winner who spent 14 years at Bayern Munich, signed for Chicago this week after an unhappy stint at Manchester United where he was frozen out by manager Jose Mourinho.
— Basti Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) March 21, 2017
Arne Friedrich, who played for Chicago Fire from 2012 to 2013, says the midfielder can expect a hands-on role and his fitness to be sorely tested — Schweinsteiger has suffered a series of injuries in recent seasons.
“In contrast to Bayern Munich or Manchester United, he will get a lot more insights into what goes on behind the scenes in Chicago,” Friedrich told the German daily Bild.
“This was no different for me. He will be involved in decision-making processes which are not directly related to the game.
“Without knowing what his future plans are, he will be able to learn a lot that will help him when his playing career is over.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 21, 2017
Schweinsteiger, who scored 24 goals in 121 Germany appearances, kept himself fit despite a lack of chances with United, which will help in Chicago, said Friedrich.
“From the performance level the American league can be compared with the upper part of the Bundesliga’s second division,” said Friedrich, who won 82 caps for Germany.
“Above all, Bastian should be in a good physical condition because all the players there are fit.
“Fitness has traditionally been a high priority in America, but tactically and in terms of the games he has played in, Bastian has a great advantage.”
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) March 21, 2017
Friedrich spoke positively about what awaits Schweinsteiger, who is married to retired former women’s tennis world number one Ana Ivanovic.
“Chicago was one of the nicest parts of my career,” said the 37-year-old, who retired in 2013.
“Bastian will enjoy more anonymity than when he was in Munich or Manchester. You can move around the street, go to restaurants and bars.
“When people recognise you, they are not all pushing for a selfie with you, although Bastian and Ana will automatically have a bigger celebrity status than any other MLS player.”