Schweinsteiger in awe of Ryan Giggs
Bastian Schweinsteiger has called Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs' service to the club "remarkable" and revealed he remains as happy as ever at Bayern Munich.
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Having joined Bayern just before his 14th birthday, Schweinsteiger, like Giggs, has come through the ranks to become an icon at his first and only club.
However, the Germany international, 29, who has played 314 Bundesliga games for the European champions, told France Football he remains in awe of other one-club men, such as Giggs and Roma forward Francesco Totti.
"Those two players are incredible. At 40, Giggs is still playing at the highest level. He's remarkable. There's also Daniele De Rossi at Roma. All those players have never left their first club. That's really rare these days," Schweinsteiger said, adding his love for Bayern remains intact.
"I'm proud. Going each morning to the Sabenerstrasse [training ground] still brings me as much joy. When I go into the Bayern dressing room, I'm happy. It's nice to go to training where I know everyone, my teammates, the stewards, the cleaners or the employees. It's only when I'm injured or I'm in pain that I'm in a bad mood."
Nicknamed “Football God” by the adoring Bayern fans, Schweinsteiger revealed he has had opportunities "several times" to leave the club "but in the end, it was always the heart that decided."
He did, however, seek assurances that the club would be able to meet his ambitions on the European stage before extending his contract in February 2011.
"I wanted to be sure that those in charge of the club shared the same vision and ambitions as me. A dozen years ago, we were regularly knocked out in the last 16 or the quarterfinals of the Champions League,” he said. “Since Louis van Gaal was our coach, we go far, with three finals in the last four competitions.
“Today, I'm happy to see that we achieve all our objectives. That shows that I was right to extend my contract. And I had a dream: I wanted to win the Champions League with Bayern at any cost, because this red-and-white shirt means everything to me."
With Bayern having all but sewn up the Bundesliga title for another year, they can focus on defending their European crown.
United, the team that denied them Champions League glory in 1999, stand in their way in this season's quarterfinals.
But after dominating the competition in the last campaign, Schweinsteiger is confident Pep Guardiola's side can rewrite the history books.
"Since the Champions League came into existence, no club has ever defended the title,” he said. “That's a magnificent challenge that we feel we can achieve."