Bastian Schweinsteiger will spend another season in the United States after agreeing to a new deal for a third season with the Chicago Fire.
The Fire announced the deal on Tuesday, ensuring a third campaign for the German superstar. There had been some doubt about his return, with retirement or return to Europe real possibilities, but the allure of trying to win a championship with the Fire and the desire to help the team rebound from a disappointing 2018 season convinced him to return.
“Let’s raise a trophy. I believe in this club and I believe that we can be champions,” Schweinsteiger said in a team-issued statement. “This American journey has been very special for me and my family.
"I love being a part of the Chicago Fire and we appreciate how the city has embraced us with open arms. To the Fire fans, from my family to yours, I wish you a happy and safe holiday season and I will see you in Chicago next year.”
Schweinsteiger has made 55 regular season appearances in two seasons with the Fire, scoring seven goals and providing 12 assists.
“In a lot of ways Basti has come to embody our club, the prototypical Fire player and the spirit of Chicago: industrious, intelligent, enthusiastic, talented and world-class,” Fire president Nelson Rodriguez said in a team-issued statement.
“His return demonstrates our continuing effort to build a championship program, both on and off the field.”
Schweinsteiger continued to play at a high level in 2018, splitting time between central midfield and central defense. His outstanding form still couldn’t keep the Fire from enduring an awful 2018 season that concluded with the team posting the fourth-worst record in MLS.
It was a far cry from Schweinsteiger’s first MLS season in 2017, which saw the Fire finish with the third-best regular season record in the league. The team’s lack of impact signings was seen as the leading cause for the Fire’s struggles in 2018, but with Schweinsteiger back, the Fire head toward 2019 with a key piece in place to attempt to climb back up the standings.