The destination of former German national team star Bastian Schweinsteiger is in doubt, a day after his season ended. Chicago Fire would like him to return, but Schweinsteiger is non-committal.
Bastian Schweinsteiger's Major League Soccer season came to an end on Wednesday night after his Chicago Fire were crushed 4-0 by the visiting New York Red Bulls in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs.
Schweinsteiger, who has been plagued by injury since the start of September, was not a factor in the match at Toyota Park, coming in during the 65th minute, with the Fire already down 2-0.
"The two early goals weren't ideal for our game," the 33-year-old Schweinsteiger said afterwards. "We are disappointed that the season is over so early."
Despite Chicago's early exit from the playoffs, Schweinsteiger's first (and only?) season at the Fire is generally regarded as a success, with his six goals and six assists having helped the team qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2012.
"From our perspective the experience has been extraordinarily positive," Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez told a media roundtable in Chicago last week. "I think he's delivered across all of our expectations, and we hope that we have delivered against his expectations."
He also said that while the two sides had agreed not to talk about Schweinsteiger's future until after the season was over there was reason to believe that the former Germany captain could return in 2018.
Comfortable in Chicago
"I don't want to speak for Basti, but from what we've gleaned and what he's shared with us, he and Ana (Ivanovic) are very comfortable in the city. They love it," The Chicago Tribune cited Rodriguez as saying.
Indeed, since their arrival in the Windy City at the start of the season, Schweinsteiger and his wife, the former women's No. 1 tennis player, have often posted photos of themselves enjoying their temporary home.
After Wednesday's game, though, Schweinsteiger declined to comment on his future.
"Like Nelson Rodriguez already said, we'll be holding talks."
However, head coach Veljko Paunovic left no doubt about his desire: "We want Bastian back," he said.