BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (Oct. 8, 2019) – Chicago Fire Soccer Club defender Bastian Schweinsteiger today announced his decision to retire from professional soccer. A winner of 23 major trophies, including the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League, Schweinsteiger concludes 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," said Chicago Fire Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto. "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, recorded 619 first team appearances with the Chicago Fire, Bayern Munich and Manchester United throughout his professional playing career. During his 18-year career, Schweinsteiger tallied 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” said Chicago Fire Soccer Club President and General Manager Nelson Rodrίguez. “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.”
Across the last three seasons in MLS with the Fire, he made 85 appearances (83 starts) in league play, recording eight goals and 15 assists. Schweinsteiger was also named an MLS All-Star in two of his three seasons in Chicago, serving as captain against Real Madrid at Soldier Field (2017) before competing against Atlético Madrid at Exploria Stadium (2019). Additionally, from 2017-19, he led the Club in chances created (95) and assists (15), while also helping to guide the Fire to a playoff berth in 2017.
“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, said Chicago Fire Head Coach Veljko Paunović. “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. In 13 seasons with the Club, he won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal (German Cup) championships and a UEFA Champions League trophy (2013). He was also 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 Manchester United in the English Premier League, before signing with the Fire on March 21, 2017.
At the international level, Schweinsteiger made 121 appearances (100 starts) for the German National Team from 2004-2018. Schweinsteiger, who played an integral role in Germany’s first place finish in 2014 FIFA World Cup, also made three World Cup appearances (2006, 2010, 2014) and four UEFA European Championship appearances (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) for his home country. A former team captain for Germany, he holds the nation’s record for the most UEFA European Championship appearances (18), a mark he achieved in 2016.