“Take a bow son”.
A now over used phrase in football aimed at just about anyone who has achieved something in a game or in the game as a whole.
But someone like Bastian Schweinsteiger shouldn’t have to take just the one. He should be able to take two, three or more. Thoroughly deserving the praise that goes with them.
A Champions League winners medal. A World Cup Winners medal. Eight Bundesliga titles. Seven DFB Cup winners medals. Plus numerous other club and individual awards in a thirteen years at Bayern Munich, during which time he made 500 senior appearances for Der FCB.
In a sport which all too easily confers the label of ‘legend’ upon an even half decent player, Schweinsteiger stands out as one of the outstanding players of the modern era.
And who therefore had, as a consequence, nothing left to prove at all. To anyone.
He could have left Bayern to see out his career in the cash rich and undemanding soccer landscape of the USA. Just as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have done.
But he’s hungry for more challenges, new playing horizons and greater opportunities.
And under Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, he’ll get all of that.
Demanding fans. Demanding team-mates. And, in van Gaal, a very demanding coach.
Demanding no matter who someone is. Or what they have achieved.
Believe it. Van Gaal has already criticised Schweinsteiger for what he perceived as a poor performance in a pre-season friendly against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Which United won.
But that didn’t stop van Gaal saying what he thought of his new signings role in the game.
Now, you might think that Schweinsteiger wouldn’t be happy with that. He’s just arrived at Old Trafford; he’s won just about everything there is to win in the game and is now bedding himself in at the club. Besides, this was a friendly that was more to do with United’s commercial interests than football. Which they still won.
Don’t believe it.
Schweinsteiger would have chosen United as his new club because despite who he is and what he has done, he has to prove himself all over again. And that his reputation counts for absolutely nothing.
So the criticism he got from his new coach would have been sweet music to his ears.
He still wants to win. His entire professional lookout and mentality has always been about winning. Nothing has changed. He’ll still have a rich appetite for the game and be hungry for everything that his new club and the challenges it will give him has in store.
And when you think that way, you naturally gravitate towards whatever is required to help you achieve them.
He may have had a bit of a telling off from his new coach already.
But that might well be the first and the last one he gets.