Great honour for Schweinsteiger
World Cup winner, treble winner, Fußballgott -- the football career of Bastian Schweinsteiger makes impressive reading. The day before he bids farewell to Bayern fans at the Allianz Arena with his current club Chicago Fire, the achievements and contributions of the long term Bayern pro on and off the pitch were honoured. The Bavarian State chancellery in the morning and the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt in the afternoon. Schweinsteiger spent a day dedicated to his hometown and hometown club. After receiving the Bavarian Order of Merit, the 34-year-old midfielder was admitted as the 18th member into the Hall of Fame of the German record champions.
That means the playmaker, who pulled the strings in the Bayern midfield for many years, now belongs to the select circle of club legends such as Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Sepp Maier, Lothar Matthäus and Philipp Lahm -- An award only given to the very best players in the history of the record champions. "Of course, it's a great honour to enter the Hall of Fame at such a big club along with all the other great personalities," said Schweinsteiger who was clearly proud and happy about it. On his big day, the former Germany captain didn't want to appear empty-handed at the museum of his favourite club so he brought a very special gift with him -- with immediate effect his World Cup winner's medal from the 2014 final in Rio will be displayed at the Erlebniswelt close to his star.
500 games, 68 goals and 22 titles with Bayern
From youth player to club legend -- Bastian Schweinsteiger had a long career at FC Bayern. The man born in Kolbermoor joined FC Bayern at the age of 13 and from 2002 to 2015 he played for the first team -- and with such success matched by hardly any other player in the 118-year history of the club. In 500 games for Bayern, Schweini scored 68 goals and won an impressive 22 titles. No other player has been champion of Germany or won the DFB Cup as often. "Bastian is a record holder in every respect," enthused Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in listing Schweinsteiger's impressive collection of titles. "He's won everything you can in the world of football," added Bayern's chairman.
During his career, Schweinsteiger was always accompanied by Uli Hoeneß. "Basti was always a rascal and always made the big and small mistakes that make a rascal," reflected the present club president with fatherly indulgence. "But if you needed him on the pitch, he was there! That is the true character of a player," explained the 66-year-old. Great words about a great player from a great contemporary -- but anyone who has a similar career to Schweinsteiger's deserves to be honoured. And that is not the end of it: After his farewell game on Tuesday night between his "old flame" FC Bayern and Chicago Fire the 34-year-old will again be honoured by 75,000 fans at the sold-out Allianz Arena.
Holder of Bavarian Order of Merit -- an exclusive circle
Ahead of his return to the Allianz Arena, Schweinsteiger was awarded the Bavarian Board of Merit. "Honour where honour's due," said Markus Söder in his laudatory speech to the World Cup winner of 2014 in the Prince Carl Palace in the state chancellery in the morning. The ceremonial marble hall formed a perfect stage for Schweinsteiger to be awarded "probably the most exclusive order" of the Free State of Bavaria -- according to the provisions there can only be 2,000 living holders of the order. As a reason for the award, the Bavarian Minister-President named the 122 time Germany international as a constant "role model" who has "very much shaped the German football virtues" like almost nobody else. "You are Bavarian -- and your achievements are outstanding for Bavaria," declared the state premier before adding "the words living legend are often spoken but you are one of them."