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The 27-year-old midfielder highlighted the importance of ‘hero worship’ and revealed that he is eager to learn more about the history and passion of Indian football

Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger has spoken of his admiration for French stars Zinedine Zidane and Eric Cantona.

He explained that fandom is an integral part of the sport and gave an insight into the idols that he looked up to as a youngster.

“When I was growing up in Kolbermoor, Germany, I used to admire my elder brother Tobias. By the time I earned my jersey for Bayern Munich and later for Germany, I started admiring a bunch of international players," Schweinsteiger acknowledged in his column for the Hindustan Times.

Schweinsteiger stated that he was impressed by the former Real Madrid midfielder because he let his football do all the talking.

“Zinedine Zidane will, of course, be my idol, but Eric Cantona as well. Zidane, though, was something special. I think I don't have to mention why, but what inspired me the most was that Zidane was leading the team through the way he played; he was not a person of big words but a leader because of his aura," he said.

“I would have loved to play with Cantona, too; he had something that was inspiring.”

The midfield talisman for die Roten is recovering from a broken collar bone sustained against Napoli in the Champions League following a brutal collision with Gokhlan Inler, and admitted that he is anxious to get back onto the pitch.

“I'm eagerly looking forward to returning to action in the New Year after spending a good amount of time recovering from injury. That's all that is in my mind these days, though the injury has also come as a blessing in disguise. I've used this time to spend some time with my family and friends.”

Bayern are currently undertaking a training camp in Qatar and will head to New Delhi to take on India in an exhibition on January 10, and Schweinsteiger is looking forward to learning more about Indian football.

“I am very curious to discover India’s passion for football. I’m quite impressed to know that they were Asian giants in the 1950s and 1960s, but what happened thereafter is a mystery," he said.

“Maybe, if more top clubs can play there in the future, it will boost the popularity of the sport."

Bhaichung Bhutia will make a final appearance in the national colours against die Roten in what will be a testimonial to his services to Indian football.

“What is football without its heroes and thousands of adoring fans backing them till the very end? These are the thoughts that come to my mind as FC Bayern Munich prepares to play in New Delhi for the first time, in Bhaichung Bhutia’s farewell match. We hope fans will give him a packed stadium."

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