Bastian Schweinsteiger's international career is over. The Germany legend announced that he has told Joachim Loew that he does not want to be considered for selection to the national team anymore.
"In 120 international matches I was allowed to play for my country and experience moments of incredible joy and success," said Schweinsteiger in a written statement.
"With my decision I leave the national team, which was always a precious family to me. I hope that this connection will stay intact in another form.
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"To my fans I want to say: 'It was an honour for me to play for you. Thank you for everything that I could experience with you!'"
Schweinsteiger was a fixture for Germany going back to 2004. He made the jump straight from the U-21's to Germany's Euro team. By the 2006 World Cup, the 22 year-old was already one of the team's best player and had an incredible 41 caps.
Much has been made of the way the Germany team was overhauled by young players and it was Schwesinteiger who led that crop of youngsters. But he never played like his age, instead being the calm, do-it-all midfielder who made the Germans tick through the middle of the park.
The highlight of Schweinsteiger's international career came in 2014 when he finally captured a major trophy as Germany won the World Cup. He was magnificent in the final, holding the midfield together even after partner in the center, Christoph Kramer, went off in the 31st minute with an injury.
In all, Schweinsteiger played in three World Cups and four Euros. He made 120 appearances for his country and scored 20 goals.
No player in the history of the sport has played more matches at major tournaments than Schweinsteiger's 38 and after going out in the group stage at Euro 2004, Schweinsteiger's Germany made it to the semifinals of every other major tournament he played.
Now 31 years old and struggling with fitness, it makes sense for Schweinsteiger to step away. The Germany team is supremely talented, including in the center of midfield, and if he couldn't maintain his fitness, he might not even get selected anymore. That's not something a player as magnificent as him should go through. He's done it all and now he's going to walk away as one of the greatest players his country has ever seen.
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