Chicago (AFP) – German star Bastian Schweinsteiger said he is ready to make an immediate start to his Major League Soccer career with Chicago Fire at a formal presentation before journalists here Wednesday.
The 32-year-old former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder told reporters he was available to make his debut in Chicago’s clash with Montreal Impact this Saturday if selected.
“I am 32 years old. I am ready, but of course I need more training sessions to have the right rhythm, to be where I want to see myself,” Schweinsteiger said.
“My head is more than 100 percent. I feel quite comfortable. The session was pretty intense today and I could do it, so that was good.
“I was preparing before I came here and, of course, I need some days more training but I feel I am ready whenever the coach needs me.”
Schweinsteiger, a key member of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning team, confirmed his move to MLS last week after struggling to find a role at Manchester United.
Schweinsteiger said his swift departure from the Premier League giants after just under two years with the club meant he was unable to say a proper goodbye to his Old Trafford teammates.
“It was not so easy because the decision was a bit late so I couldn’t say a proper goodbye to the team,” Schweinsteiger said.
“Also they had an away match, so I couldn’t really tell them because I didn’t want the focus on me, but on the team. I had a great time there, especially with the teammates and the staff.”
Schweinsteiger is reported to have signed a one-year deal with Chicago as a designated player, meaning he can be paid outside of MLS salary restrictions. He is set to earn $4.5 million for his season in the Windy City.
Chicago coach Veljko Paunovic was coy about whether Schweinsteiger would play this weekend.
“Obviously, he is going to be available. We are not going to reveal our plans here,” he said.
“But we still have a talk to have and discuss how he feels and more things about the team and how we want to play. So be ready.”
Wednesday’s news conference, meanwhile, saw one awkward exchange where a reporter asked Schweinsteiger whether he felt that the “World Cup was a realistic expectation” for Chicago Fire.
Chicago general manager Nelson Rodriguez promptly stepped into clarify the question, stating: “We as a club don’t play for the World Cup, we play for the MLS Cup.”
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