Just two years ago, Bastian Schweinsteiger could be found basking in World Cup glory and being considered as one of the world’s finest midfielders.
Now? He can’t even wrestle his way onto Manchester United’s bench. It’s proven one of the harshest and most controversial snubs in recent months with manager Jose Mourinho refusing to relent.
Unsurprisingly, the baffling scenario has prompted numerous big names to speak out about it and voice their opinion. The latest to do so has proven Manuel Neuer no less.
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When Louis van Gaal secured Schweinsteiger’s signature in 2015, for just £6.5 million, it appeared one of the finest buys of the summer. After all, this was the captain of the world champions and a Champions League winner.
Despite his incredible reputation and record though, Schweinsteiger struggled in his first season in the Premier League.
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Marred by injuries, the 32-year-old could only muster a handful of starts with the majority of his 18 league outings coming before Christmas.
By the time Van Gaal bit the bullet, Schweinsteiger had become very much accustomed to the sidelines. After all, his FA Cup winning celebrations were carried out in a suit as he rather awkwardly shuffled into dressing room photos.
Nevertheless, the arrival of Mourinho looked set to see the German rack up far more minutes on the pitch.
This simply hasn’t been the case though with the Special One banishing him from the first team and forcing him to train with the youth sides. This is despite the fact the German is now fully fit and United are lingering in seventh place.
In the midst of all this, the 32-year-old has remained admirably loyal. Schweinsteiger turned down moves away this summer and regularly uses social media to wish his teammates good luck.
Despite this though, it appears Mourinho will exploit his youth options before he even considers Schweinsteiger earning a seat on the bench. For many it’s outrageous and for almost all, it defies belief.
With Schweinsteiger’s exile showing no signs of ending, ex-Germany and Bayern Munich teammate Neuer has spoken out on the issue.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the world-renowned ‘sweeper keeper’ stated: “I really hope that Bastian gets some consideration soon.”
“We all know he’s one of the best midfielders in the world. He belongs on the field for Manchester United and not training individually.”
Well said, Manuel. Besides, few can be more qualified than the 30-year-old who spent four years playing alongside Schweinsteiger for both club and country.
That being said, it doesn’t take a footballing expert to identify that the talents and attributes of the midfielder are being put to waste by Mourinho. It’s a sad and sorry story for a man who has taken United to heart so much and so quickly.
Even if the Red Devils' poor form extends though; it looks unlikely that Schweinsteiger’s class will ever outweigh the Special One’s stubbornness.
Do you think Bastian Schweinsteiger deserves to start for Manchester United? Have YOUR say in the comment box below