Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has reportedly been training with the reserves after being told that he has not future playing for the club under Jose Mourinho. This has led to a public outpour of sympathy for the player who some consider a ‘legend’ for United. Schweinsteiger was a classy player, one who could have played for many clubs in his career, but after a poor season where he literally failed to make a dent in the club’s midfield, one which he was plagued by injury, ending the season on the injury table, but becoming fit in time to represent Germany in the European Championships this summer. Schweinsteiger has said nothing in the public eye about his predicament, but his brother has. Now other people have stepped forward to defend him. Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has slammed United for their treatment of the German suggesting that this sort of thing would not happen at his club. Speaking to Bild in Germany and picked up by The Sun, Rummenigge said:
“I could hardly believe it. One or two players are going to think long and hard in future about whether they want to go to such a club. Nothing like that has ever happened at Bayern Munich.”
Thing is, it has happened at Bayern Munich. In the 2005/06 season when former Fulham manager Felix Magath, he did not feel Schweinsteiger was good enough to occupy a berth within his first team. Comments by the German midfielder at the time, said:
“On the first day I came to the training, he looked at me and said. ‘And who are you?'”
His experience in the reserves with Bayern Munich may have made him more determined, but now it should maybe make him think if his playing days are coming to an end. He has already retired from international duty with Germany this summer, perhaps his playing career is entering its twilight period where playing for a top club may no longer be possible. Schweinsteiger is a decorated player, winning eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal trophies, a UEFA Champions League trophy and even the FIFA World Cup with Germany the year before signing for Manchester United. There have been many speaking up for the German, but one of the most pathetic is Dejan Stefanovic, a FifPro member, and former player. The Slovenian has suggested that Mourinho be sent to prison for what he is doing to the German. The Mirror reported his comments.
“It’s clear bullying. In Slovenia, we would have indicted Mourinho and asked for the highest penalty – three years in prison. This is clearly meant to discourage Bastian. Mourinho is setting a bad example. I would take it to the ordinary court. In our case, the penal code is quite clear. If there is bullying and harassment, there’s a prison sanction, a maximum of three years in prison. Schweinsteiger should turn to the Professional Footballers’ Association and he should file a complaint and I would also seek penalty for Mourinho. All the players of the first team have to train with the coaches of the first team at the same place, at the same time as all other team-mates. That’s something that should be applied to each and every club and should be written within FIFA regulations.”
The surprising thing here is that this ‘apparently’ constitutes bullying. How? Telling a player that you are not part of his plans is not bullying. It is being upfront with the player and telling him, sorry, but you are not part of my plans. Bullying is harassment, intimidation, persecution, oppression, domineer, subjugation and using superior strength in order to intimidate. Granted, Schweinsteiger may not have liked being told that he was not part of the manager’s plans, but to suggest he was being bullied – pathetic. Victor Valdes was resigned to the reserves last season, whilst there was an uproar about it, which was the start of everything against Louis van Gaal, I never once heard that he was being bullied. What we have here are people who are trying to slate the club for what they are doing.
Imagine if someone had said Sir Alex Ferguson should be sent to prison for getting rid of Roy Keane, Jaap Stam, and David Beckham, among others. Also kicking a football book at Beckham? No prison for Ferguson? This makes the matter look more pathetic than it actually is. No crime is being committed here. It goes to show how stuck in the dark ages Slovenia is if you can be indicted for telling a player they are not part of your plans, having them train with the reserve team. I mean how preposterous does that actually sound? I think Schweinsteiger may need to look long and hard at himself now. He is not part of the plans going forward and if he does not want to train with the reserves, perhaps he should find a club that will allow him to play to the level he feels he can play, then if that doesn’t go to plan, perhaps he should think about calling it a day.
Last season when Schweinsteiger was playing, there were many moans from Manchester United supporters about his sluggishness and incompetence on the pitch. Now the same people are the ones who are playing the victim card for the player, all because Manchester United do not need passengers this season. Don’t get me wrong, Schweinsteiger was a great player in his time, but recently he does not have much to offer. For Germany, he did score a goal in the group stages of the European Championships, seconds after coming on with the match in the dying stages. That does not mean he can play 90 minutes week-in, week-out? Maybe the player should think about what he has been told by Mourinho, show respect for that decision instead of letting all and sundry make him look like an embarrassment, which is the level this is now heading to. Prison? Really?