Rummenigge: We granted Basti's request

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Bastian Schweinsteiger has left FC Bayern. After 17 years and 20 winner's medals the FCB vice-captain asked the German record champions to be released from his contract so he can join Manchester United. "We've granted his request and agreed transfer terms with Manchester United," reported Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on Saturday, "I won't hide the fact that I'm wistful. I regret it. We tried to convince him to stay with Bayern, but I can also understand a player seeking to gain new experience at the end of his career."

After exactly 500 appearances in an FCB shirt, eight German championship titles, seven DFB Cup wins, one triumph in the FIFA Club World Cup and one in the Champions League, Schweinsteiger is saying farewell. "He's already an icon, a legend," commented Matthias Sammer, discussing the 30-year-old world champion who is revered by the fans as Fußballgott (football god). "He's earned this status," said Rummenigge, "he's been with us for 17 years and passed through every level. He has achieved great things. He has won everything. He has done so much for this club." It would have been "callous" to decline the request of such an honoured player. However, FC Bayern are losing a "role model" and a "wonderful person," the chairman said. "We said goodbye in great friendship."

'Honest' conversation

Schweinsteiger returned from his holiday on Friday and met with Rummenigge as agreed some weeks previously. "It was a very serious and thorough conversation, we were very honest to each other," reported the FCB chairman. "He told me he had thought about it during his vacation. He wants do to something new towards the end of his career. He asked me to grant him his request and agree transfer terms with Manchester United. It was not an easy decision made in five minutes."

Schweinsteiger's desire was "understandable," said Rummenigge, having himself looked for a new challenge at Inter Milan towards the end of his career. Rummenigge also mentioned Franz Beckenbauer and Günter Netzer who changed clubs in later years. "When I went to Inter it was motivating. It will be an interesting new challenge for Bastian, giving him renewed power. It's a decision that will be beneficial to him in his life. I'm convinced he'll play well there. The Germany squad will profit from that too."

'The door is open'

The agreement with Manchester was "not very complicated. We found a very fair and appropriate solution," reported Rummenigge. Now he could only "wish him well." Holger Badstuber added: "Above all I wish him good health, that he's happy with his decision and that he succeeds. He'll be missed." Franck Ribéry was "very, very sad. I think the whole club is sad. He's won everything with us. He's a really good friend. But that's football. All I can do is wish him good luck."

But Schweinsteiger will return to the Allianz Arena pitch at least once. FC Bayern have promised him a testimonial match whenever he finishes his career. "Then we'll also consider whether there's a future, a second career for him at FC Bayern. The door is always open for him," said Rummenigge. So -- *mach's guad, Basti!*See you soon!

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