Bayern Munich and Germany legend Bastian Schweinsteiger announced that he will retire at the end of the current Major League Soccer season, bringing down the curtain on one of football’s most decorated careers for club and country.
The 35-year-old has 24 goals in 121 appearances for Germany after making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2004, and was part of the squad that won the World Cup in 2014.
At club level, he spent 17 seasons at Bayern Munich, playing in exactly 500 matches across all competitions and scoring 68 goals.
Here are five of the most memorable moments in the storied career of the former Bayern and Germany midfielder.
5. Bayern Debut
It didn’t take long for Schweinsteiger to break into the Bayern first team. At just 18-years-old and with only two training sessions with the first-team squad under his belt, manager Ottmar Hitzfeld handed him his Bundesliga debut. He came on as a late substitute for current Bayern head coach Niko Kovac in a 3-0 win at VfB Stuttgart.
Not even Bastian himself would have imagined that he would go on to become a part of such a successful era in Bayern Munich’s history.
4. Germany debut
Although he made his Bayern debut around the same time as Philipp Lahm, Schweinsteiger had to wait a few months longer than his team-mate to win a first Germany cap. In June 2004, Rudi Völler handed him a senior international debut, just four months after he had made his first appearance for the Under-21 side.
Bastian made his international debut in a European Championship warm-up match against Hungary in 2004 - a game his side lost 2-0, but Schweinsteiger had impressed Völler enough to cement a place for himself in the team.
3. The move into the middle
Hitzfeld used Schweinsteiger as a right-winger since bringing him into the team, but new Bayern coach Louis van Gaal saw a different role for the No.31 and moved him into the center alongside van Bommel.
Bayern had found their new midfield rock.
Looking back on this change, Bastian described it as 'very important' in his development. He believed that this change allowed him to dictate the game without needing to depend on others.
2. World Cup Glory
The crowning moment of Schweinsteiger's career came in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final as Die Mannschaft beat Argentina to win football's biggest prize for the fourth time. The image of him bleeding from a nick just below his eye as he finally dragged modern German football to the ultimate glory will forever be engraved in German football history.
Mario Götze's winner may have made all the headlines, but it was an extraordinary performance from Germany's midfield warrior that won Joachim Löw's side the game.
1. Treble With Bayern Munich
Bayern hate losing, and missing out on the Champions League title in 2012 to Chelsea on penalties was a huge blow for the entire team. It was Schweinsteiger who took the last Bayern penalty but failed to score.
The next season, however, the Bavarian Giants completed the treble of Bundesliga, DFB Cup, and Champions League. The icing on the cake? Schweinsteiger was also named Germany's Footballer of the Year for 2013.
The 35-year-old Bayern Hall of Famer hung up his illustrious boots with a heavy heart. "Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic," he said on Twitter.