Published On: Fri, Aug 19th, 2016

Ballack: Schweinsteiger should consider international retirement

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Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack has urged Bastian Schweinsteiger, the man currently donning the armband, to consider stepping down from the international game.

The 31-year-old went into Euro 2016 off the back of an injury-strewn and inconsistent debut season at Manchester United, and his former Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft teammate believes international retirement could boost his longevity at club level.

“I know that he (Schweinsteiger) is brutally ambitious,” Ballack wrote for Express via ESPN FC. “But, when you’ve seen him in the past two years, you also have to honestly say that I’m worried about his physical condition after his many injuries.

“It will be difficult enough for him to prevail at Manchester (United) against the sporting competition. That’s why I don’t know whether he’d do himself a favour by naming the 2018 World Cup in Russia as his next personal goal. I’d advise him to consider this step carefully. He could land in a vortex.”

Ballack has pedigree in the English game himself after spending four successful seasons with Chelsea, so he understands the rigours of the Premier League. His retirement from Germany was a drawn-out affair, however, occurring 15 months since his final appearance in a friendly against Argentina in March 2010.

Schweinsteiger’s contribution for Germany has come under scrutiny lately, particularly after his desperate handball gifted France a penalty in his country’s semi-final elimination.

“Other players could use this situation to question his status in the team,” Ballack continued. “Schweinsteiger does not deserve that.

“He sadly missed (out on winning) the Euro, and on top of that he made a stupid handball. But that doesn’t diminish his career. He won the 2014 World Cup for Germany. He achieved outstanding things for football. He could leave now through the front door with his head held high.”

The veteran midfielder will now hope to impress new United manager Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, with his last club start coming in an FA Cup bout with Sheffield United last January. He may face greater competition for a spot in the lineup, should his employer’s reported efforts to sign JuventusPaul Pogba prove successful.

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