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SCHWEINSTEIGER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his retirement from professional football.

The German midfielder, who represented Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Chicago Fire in the MLS, broke the news on social media on Tuesday afternoon.

Schweinsteiger’s decision brings to a close his richly successful 17-year career which saw him win eight Bundesliga titles, the FA Cup while at United and the World Cup in 2014 as Germany captain.

In an emotive post on his Instagram page, the 35-year-old wrote: ‘Dear Fans, the time has now come, and I will be finishing my active career at the end of this season. I would like to thank both, you and my teams @fcbayern, @manchesterunited, @chicagofire and @dfb_team.

‘You made this unbelievable time possible for me! And of course, I would also like to thank my wife @anaivanovicand my family for their support. Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic, but I am also looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me soon.

‘I will remain faithful to football. Many, many thanks for the time we spent together, I will always have a place for you in my heart! Yours, Basti.’

In tribute, Wayne Rooney, who played with the German in Manchester, tweeted: ‘Congratulations to my good friend @BSchweinsteiger on an unbelievable career. It was a pleasure to get to play alongside you. Good luck in your retirement #legend’

Schweinsteiger began his career as a young player at Bayern Munich in 2002 and went on to become a club legend during his 13 years in Bavaria.

He was a mainstay anchoring the midfield and lifted eight Bundesliga titles, seven German Cups and the 2012-13 Champions League title with a win over rivals Borussia Dortmund.

He made over 500 appearances for Bayern before opting for a new challenge at Manchester United under then boss Louis van Gaal.

Current Bayern full-back David Alaba wrote on his Instagram story: ‘The game will miss you, enjoy your free time.’

He was part of the squad that lifted the FA Cup in his first season at Old Trafford with victory over Crystal Palace in the final.

Two years in the US with Chicago Fire has now ended immediately with his final game as a professional in a 5-2 win over Orlando City on Sunday.

Schweinsteiger played 92 games for the MLS side, netting eight goals. MLS commissioner Don Garber took to Twitter soon after the retirement was announced to pay thanks to one of Europe’s finest ever midfielders.

Garber wrote: ‘It was a pleasure having one of the most decorated players in the history of global soccer competing in @MLS. Bastian, thank you for your contributions to the beautiful game during your three seasons with @ChicagoFire.’ 

Bayern released a two-minute montage of his journey from a talented youngster at the club to becoming captain and lifting the game’s major honours. 

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