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Bastian Schweinsteiger honoured before Bayern Munich testimonial

The Chicago Fire's Bastian Schweinsteiger, left, receives the Bavarian Order of Merit from Markus Soder.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, left, was given the Bavarian Order of Merit by Bavaria prime minister Markus Soder.

Bastian Schweinsteiger was awarded the Bavarian Order of Merit in Munich on Monday, recognising his contributions to the region and its people.

Schweinsteiger, 34, was born and raised in Bavaria, came up through the Bayern Munich academy and spent parts of 13 seasons with the club, winning the Bundesliga eight times and the Champions League in 2013. He also won the World Cup with Germany in 2014.

He attended the ceremony at the Prinz-Carl-Palais in Munich, the day before the Chicago Fire face Bayern at Allianz Arena in Schweinsteiger's testimonial match, and was given the medal by Bavaria prime minister Markus Soder.

More than 5,600 people have been received the honour, with no more than 2,000 living recipients permitted at any time.

"Being a Bavarian is a way of life," Schweinsteiger wrote on Twitter. "We have a culture of success in a joyful manner. I accept the Medal of Honor on behalf of all Bayern supporters worldwide!"

Markus Soder Bavarian PM called Schweinsteiger " a role model" in his speech.

"You are Bavaria and have performed wonders for Bavaria," he said.

According to Soder, Schweinsteiger was someone who "guaranteed success" for Bayern and had played "an exceptional role" for Germany too.

"There probably isn't another German player around who displayed German footballing virtues like you," Soder added. "The term legend is too often used these days but it's very apt for Schweinsteiger."

Schweinsteiger, who joined the Fire in March 2017 after a year and a half at Manchester United, was also honoured by Bayern on Monday when he was introduced as the 18th member of the club's Hall of Fame, joining legends such as Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthaus.

ESPN FC's Bayern Munich correspondent Mark Lovell contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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