Bastian Schweinsteiger is a legend of the game and one of the most successful players in the modern era. A product of Bayern Munich, he played for the Bavarians from 1998 to 2015 before moving to Manchester United and then Chicago Fire before retiring. Being an accomplished player, you hardly have regrets especially if you played for a powerful club. But for Basti, there was something he wished he’d done but didn’t: playing for Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan.
If you ask me, the summer of 2008 was one of the most crucial periods in the 2000s for Bayern: David Alaba (now of Real Madrid) joined Bayern’s youth system, Thomas Müller almost moved to Hoffenheim but was stopped by Hermann Gerland (Müller made his senior team debut in 2008/09, the rest is history), and now we have Basti.
The self-proclaimed “Special One” has just arrived in Milan and Bayern went hard for Arsenal FC’s Belarusian playmaker Alexander Hleb, formerly of VfB Stuttgart. Per Rai Sport, as reported by FCInterNews.it and captured by Sempre Inter, Schweinsteiger revealed that then-Bayern coach Jürgen Klinsmann wanted Hleb while Mourinho sensed that he could sign Der Fußballgott. However, FC Barcelona swooped in and stole Hleb from our hands, so Basti stayed.
“Jose Mourinho had just arrived in Milan, (Jurgen) Klinsmann was at Bayern and he wanted the Belarusian from Stuttgart, Alex Hleb at all costs”, Basti said. “He was playing in my position so I could have looked for another team. Mourinho had sensed the deal, he was missing just the signature.
“Then Barcelona came into the equation and Hleb moved to Spain, so I wasn’t allowed to leave. Inter signed (Ricardo) Quaresma and the Brazilian, (Amantino) Mancini instead.”
To atone for that missed opportunity, Basti did lots of things to make a strong connection with Italy. “As a big Serie A fan, it is my biggest regret. Somehow, I tried to make up for it; I got married in Italy and I come to Italy for tourism whenever I can,” he added.
Interestingly, Hleb, who failed to make much impact at Barcelona, said he wanted to move to Bayern in summer 2009, but ended up rejecting a loan move to Inter (who beat Bayern in the Champions League final the following season) to join his old club Stuttgart.
Nevertheless, Basti will be supporting Italy as his second team at Euro 2024 in Germany: “Now I’m waiting for your national team at the European Championship in Germany.”