The German captain Bastian Schweinsteiger was given a last hurrah by the national team as he played the last international game of his career.
Praise and tribute for the right-footed player who occupies the position of a mid-fielder have been pouring in from all over the globe as Manchester United captain and team-mate Wayne Rooney tweeted his congratulations on a “special international career”, while Didi Hamann described Schweinsteiger as “one of the all-time greats”.
Commonly known as ‘Schwieni,’ Bastian arguably one of the best mid-fielders in the game of football, started playing for the German national team from 2004. He called time on his international career after their semi-final defeat to hosts France at Euro 2016. Having earned 121 caps and scored 24 goals, he is Germany’s fourth most-capped player of all time. He was in the victorious German squad at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and was named captain of the national team following Philipp Lahm’s international retirement.
Bastie has had a mixed year on the personal front as he is currently out of favour with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho who has asked the German international to look for another club. Jose at present is out of a position for Bastian on the team. In the middle of a rough patch, Bastian’s saving grace was the professional Serbian tennis player, Ana Ivanovic who helped him maintain his balance and equilibrium in the time of turmoil.
On August 31, 2016 the Manchester United midfielder was given a send-off by his country after a stellar international career in a friendly against Finland which they won 2-0.
Hours before the match, Schweinsteiger published a touching letter on the German Football Association’s official website in which he thanked the DFB, his coaches and teammates, and lastly, the fans. He then gave an emotional speech to his fans before kick-off where his emotions got the best of him and not being able to hold back, he burst into tears.
The captain said, “It means so much that you’re here today. It has been an honour to play for you. I think you all saw how it affected me.” He further added, “I had just wanted to enjoy every moment, but I hadn’t expected it to be so lovely.”
The fans draped Borussia-Park with banners in support of Bastian and gave him a rapturous reception. Schweinsteiger who was substituted to a standing ovation after 66 minutes, holds the German record for European Championship appearances, having played 18 times at the tournament.
Being alone, lost in the moment as applause elongated around him, Bastian was engulfed with the reverberations of ‘Danke und Abschied Bastie!‘
The words printed on a collage presented to him — ‘Team Player. Leader. Idol.’ best encapsulate the enigma that is Bastien Schweinsteiger.