Not many footballing careers are as illustrious as Bastian Schweinsteiger’s.
Eight Bundesliga titles, 121 international caps, a Champions League trophy, a World Cup and a handful of League Cup cameos for Manchester United – the German maestro has pretty much done it all.
But as the 32 year-old joins Chicago Fire in the MLS, he faces arguably his biggest challenge yet. Can Bastian Schweinsteiger achieve the impossible – like, actually, literally impossible – and guide the Men in Red to a winning the most prestigious trophy in the game – the World Cup?
“Errr… umm… but… how… I’m lost here, lads”, says you, and us, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was genuinely asked this very question at his press unveiling.
In a strange exchange that won’t contribute to putting to bed that old “America at large is still utterly clueless about football” cliche, the reporter asked if his addition to the squad meant it was ‘a fair expectation to see a World Cup competition come out of Chicago’.
The decorated midfielder, understandably, looked well and truly baffled.
Not really a fair expectation, to be honest, mate. Club officials promptly interjected to explain that the journalist could be referring to the Club World Club (still an absolutely outrageous proposition, by the way). But no, he decided to rephrase his question, as if Schweinsteiger was the only one confused here, and asked again: “Do you expect, now that you’re here Bastian, that a World Cup goal for Chicago Fire is a realistic expectation?”
Schewini couldn’t keep a straight face, leading General Manager Nelson Rodríguez to jump in and clear up once and for all that Chicago Fire would not be competing in Russia next summer. He managed to steer the conversation towards the club’s MLS chances, at which point their marquee signing expertly morphed into Very Media Trained Footballer mode and reeled off one of those long passages about winning the next game and everything being possible in football. You know how it goes down.
Shame the FIFA rules can’t be adjusted, though. Schweinsteiger’s retirement from Germany duty in the summer means he’d have been cleared to try and double his World Cup winners’ medal collection and write Chicago Fire’s name into the history books forever.