Schweinsteiger named skipper for MLS All-Star game
MLS (USA) has just yesterday announced that Bastian Schweinsteiger will serve as captain for the league at next week’s All-Star match versus Real Madrid.
Schweinsteiger transferred from Man U earlier this year to MLS’ Chicago Fire. He has played in all 16 of the club’s matches so far this season. Prior to his time at Old Trafford, the former German international played for Bayern-Munich.
He was part of the 2012-13 squad at FCB which scored a treble of cup competitions that year, including the UEFA Champions League.
Bastian in Bratwurst land
Chicago, of course, is most well-known by sports fans the world over as the city of brats. As in “bratwurst” sausages.
Chicago is best known as home to Michael Jordan for all six of his NBA championships in the 1990s. It has also seen its share of NHL Stanley Cups, including 3 such titles since 2010.
And, in case you were not on Earth last summer, the Chicago Cubs are now the defending Major League Baseball champions.
That’s a lot of bratwursts.
It is also a very soccer-savvy city. Back in the 1980s one could pick up a copy of one of the leading local daily newspapers—stick with me, there were such things back then—and actually read about soccer on the sports page. That wasn’t very common in the USA in those days.
But the home side, Fire, have only won the MLS Cup playoff one time, and earned the Supporters’ Shield (most points in league play) also once. It’s been a fairly long time, in MLS terms, since they had those achievements.
So now Bastian Schweinsteiger is the “hometown” hero. He will serve as captain for MLS All-Stars as they take on Real Madrid at Chicago’s Soldier Field. SF is home to the Chicago Bears of the NFL. It has also served as home to the Fire in the past.
Real are presently participating in a group of summer friendly matches under the title “International Champions Cup“. The current UEFA Champions League defenders, in fact, are set to meet rivals Lio Messi and Barçelona in Miami for a preseason version of El Clasico this Saturday, July 29.
Still, summer is rapidly coming to an end. By kickoff in Chicago next Wednesday night (Aug. 2) there will be just two-and-a-half weeks to the opening round of La Liga matches. The ones that really count.
Schweinsteiger remains undefeated versus CR7 (sort of)
Despite having had parallel careers, when it has counted most Schweinsteiger has somehow always managed to overcome the long shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo. One way or another.
In the 2013 Champions League competition, Borussia Dortmund rescued both Schweinsteiger and their rivals Bayern from CR7. None other than Robert Lewandowski, then with BVB, scored 4 to Ronaldo’s 1 to pretty much put paid to their semi-final result after just the first leg. Bayern and Arjen Robben had the last laugh in the final.
At the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil it was Thomas Müller’s turn to run roughshod over Ronaldo and company from the start of the opening match. The 4-0 group stage victory put Portugal into a goal differential hole from which they could not escape. It was in many ways a harbinger of things to come for both teams in that tournament.
And just last summer, at the Euros in 2016, Schweinsteiger and Germany returned the favor. The Germans lost their semifinal to host France, thereby sidestepping a rematch with the Portuguese side.
This time, though, Ronaldo has been sidetracked by legal problems and the birth of his latest children.
Too bad. The MLS All-Star match would have been a great final meeting between Bastian and Cristiano. It might have made a storybook ending to their rivalry. It could have been a nice reward for longtime fans in Chicago.
Whatever…I’ll take my brat on a pretzel roll thanks.