Former Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his retirement from football.
Schweinsteiger has called time on a glittering career which featured a World Cup triumph with Germany in 2014 and numerous trophies with Bayern Munich, including the 2013 Champions League.
After spending most of his career with Bayern, the 35-year-old had two seasons at Old Trafford before moving in 2017 to Chicago Fire, who failed to reach the MLS play-offs at the end of last month.
Schweinsteiger wrote on social media: “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 FC Bayern, Manchester United, Chicago Fire and the German national team. You made this unbelievable time possible for me!
The Time has now come: I would like to thank both, you and my teams @FCBayern, @ManUtd, @ChicagoFire and @DFB_Team and of course @AnaIvanovic and my family for their support!— Basti Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) October 8, 2019
Thank you! pic.twitter.com/jNSrXGNpxF
“And of course I would like to thank my wife Ana Ivanovic and 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.”
Schweinsteiger joined Bayern at the age of 14 and went on to make more than 500 appearances for the club as they dominated German football.
As well as winning eight Bundesliga titles, Schweinsteiger also won the DFB-Pokal Cup on seven occasions before joining Manchester United on a three-year contract in July 2015.
It proved to be an unsuccessful spell and Schweinsteiger was sidelined when Jose Mourinho replaced Louis Van Gaal in charge, with Mourinho reportedly unhappy that the World Cup winner often returned to Germany for treatment on injuries.
Although United won the FA Cup in 2016, Schweinsteiger made just four appearances for the club the following season before his move to Chicago.
Schweinsteiger retired from international football in August 2016 after making 121 appearances for the national side.
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The Belgium national squad trained in Tubize on Monday, ahead of their upcoming Euro 2020 Group I qualifiers.
Most of the big names in Roberto Martinez’s 28-man group stayed in the gym to work off the aches and pains picked up with their clubs over the weekend – Thibaut Courtois might have wished he’d done the same.
The Real Madrid goalkeeper was subjected to an unusual stretching regime by one of the coaches, where he appeared to be kicked repeatedly quite close to a very sensitive area.
There appeared to be no ill effects though and Courtois looks set to take part against San Marino on October 10 in Brussels and Kazakhstan three days later in Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana).
Wales fear David Brooks will miss the rest of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
Bournemouth forward Brooks underwent surgery after rolling his ankle in a pre-season game at the end of July.
The 22-year-old was originally ruled out for three months and Wales hoped he would be fit for their final qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary in mid-November.
But Wales boss Ryan Giggs says Brooks is unlikely to make those crucial dates.
“It’s a difficult one because he was still in a boot in the last camp,” Giggs said.
“It’s looking around November. Now whether that’s back playing or back actually training, I’m not too sure.
“Even if he’s on the bench or fit for Bournemouth the week before it will be difficult to pick him because he’s been out for so long.”
Wales resume their Euro qualifying programme in Slovakia on Thursday before entertaining Group E leaders Croatia in Cardiff three days later.
Giggs’ side are four points adrift of Croatia and three behind Slovakia and Hungary, with a game in hand on their rivals.
“We’ve always been playing catch-up, but we want to go into the last camp with it in our hands,” said Giggs, whose side have six points from four games after last month’s home win against Azerbaijan.
“At the start of the group you would think that 15 points would get you qualified.
“But it changes all the time because everybody keeps beating each other, and you just have to look after yourself.
“We could come out of these games with a couple of draws and still have a chance.
“But then it’s out of your hands, and ideally, we’ll win the games.”
Giggs has had enviable attacking talent at his disposal with Gareth Bale, Daniel James, Harry Wilson and Brooks all having played their part in the campaign.
He also hopes to call on Aaron Ramsey for the first time in Euro 2020 qualifying this week as the Juventus midfielder is finally free of injury.
“You can’t play them all (attackers),” Giggs said.
“A lot of the criticism was aimed at my style of play after Azerbaijan, but you don’t know until the Sunday night who you’re going to have and little time to work on stuff.
“You have to take it all into consideration because you can’t play four wingers or three number tens.
“We’re very blessed in those positions but it’s finding the right balance.”