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Bayern & Man Utd the only European teams I could play for - Schweinsteiger

The German star will spend a third season playing in Major League Soccer after agreeing on a new contract

Germany legend Bastian Schweinsteiger says he left Manchester United for Chicago Fire in 2017 because he could not imagine playing for another club in Europe.

Having spent 17 years at Bayern Munich, World Cup winner Schweinsteiger fulfilled a lifelong dream by joining United in 2015.

He was taken to the Premier League by former Bayern boss Louis van Gaal, but fell out of favour at Old Trafford following the arrival of Jose Mourinho.

But, having represented two of the biggest clubs in world football, he was happy to make the step to MLS as he began to wind down his career.

"I did not want to go elsewhere in Europe," he told TZ.

"FC Bayern and Manchester United were the clubs I always wanted to play for." 

Schweinsteiger, who retired from international duty in 2016, scored on his debut for the Fire to set the tone for a productive spell there.

After starring in his side’s run to third place in the Eastern Conference, his debut campaign saw him voted into the MLS All-Star Fan XI to play in the 2017 MLS All-Star game, hosted in his new home city of Chicago.

While he has enjoyed life in the United States, he has also noticed differences with his old life - not least the American media.

"You do not have as many game weeks as in England and not the same level as Europe," he added. "Sometimes you need a bit of patience.

"[Punctuality] is not taken so seriously. If the meeting starts at 6 o'clock and the last player comes in at 6.10 o'clock in the cabin, that is quite normal."

While this might have come as a shock to the Bavarian, a more relaxed life suits him in the twilight of his career.

He has been linked with a return to Bayern in a coaching role, with club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge saying earlier this year that he would like to see him back at the club. He is still a hugely popular figure there, and made a scoring return in a testimonial match last year.

Former team-mates Philipp Lahm and Hasan Salihamidzic have already taken up non-playing roles at the Allianz Arena, but Schweinsteiger says he has not decided what his future holds just yet.

"I usually do it in the autumn when I decide how to go on," he said. "That's the way it will be.

“I’m still a player. I really appreciate that Bayern say such things about me.

“The question is always when, how, and where [he will take the next step in his career].”