Let’s face it, the great Bastian Schweinsteiger had a pretty disappointing spell at Man United, didn’t he?
The German midfielder was signed by Louis van Gaal back in 2015 for a minuscule £6.5 million from Bayern Munich and at the time – ask any United fan – it was considered quite the bargain.
Imagine it: Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick alongside each other in midfield? Just the thought of that makes us feel calm and relaxed.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out for the World Cup winner. He made 18 appearances under LVG during his first season at the club, often used as a rotation option between Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.
And under Jose Mourinho a year later, things got even worse.
Almost immediately, Mourinho dropped Schweinsteiger from the first-team and sent him to train with the club’s Under-23 side.
He was also omitted him from their Europa League squad and even written off as an asset in their published accounts.
That’s pretty brutal, Jose.
In a recent interview with Sport Bild, van Gaal hit out at Mourinho over his treatment of Schweinsteiger, claiming the Portuguese manager made mistakes in the way he handled the Bayern icon.
He said: “Schweinsteiger was older, of course, but not too old. Still, his body was not able to keep up with the high demands of the Premier League.
“Bayern sold him to us as fit player, but, in reality, physically he had reached the end. How Mourinho treated him after me, Schweini did not deserve this.
“But it also explains how things were with Schweinsteiger. It’s a shame because he is a player like Luis Enrique, Mark van Bommel or Philipp Lahm, a character always present on the pitch.”
But perhaps there was a reason (aside from his ego) for the way Mourinho treated him?
It was often reported that throughout his spell at Old Trafford, Schweinsteiger would frequently leave Manchester to return home to Germany to receive treatment on a knee injury, which is something that often frustrated the squad and created divisions between himself, his teammates and the staff.
Speaking after the player left United for for the bright lights of MLS side Chicago Fire back in March, Mourinho said: “What I know about Bastian as a player was a season full of injuries.
“A season where he almost didn’t play, a season where he was not having treatment in the club, it was outside the club and I thought that was not right, the mentality was not right, it was the kind of player I would not like to have in the squad.”
But even if he was receiving specialist treatment privately, did he really deserve to be so publicly shunned by the manager?
Mourinho has since admitted he regrets the way he treated him. Speaking to the Telegraph last year, he said: “I do regret it, yeah. I would let him be in the squad, I know that at that moment we had too many players, if you remember we had many players in these doubtful situations, Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, Andreas Pereira, Tyler Blackett, James Wilson.
“We had a huge squad in the beginning but after knowing him as a person and a professional and the way he was respecting my decisions as a manager, yes I regret and there is no problem for me to admit it, because I have told him.”
It was a sad way for – at one time, at least – one of the game’s best deep-lying playmakers to see out his career in Europe, especially at a club that is steeped in history, tradition and class.
Still, Schweinsteiger is seemingly enjoying his football again in Chicago.
Now aged 33, he scored on his debut for the MLS side back in April and went onto play 24-times in his first season, notching three goals and six assists, and making an appearance in the MLS All-Star team over the summer.
United fans will probably never forget the brief period the German played for their team. After all, the most striking memory of his time at the club is perhaps the standing ovation he received when coming off the bench during their EFL Cup quarter-final win against West Ham – on his last ever appearances for the them.
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