Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger on Europe’s Growing Interest in MLS

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Three former Manchester United teammates on the 2016-17 squad, Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, are currently playing across the pond in Major League Soccer. Two of them, Rooney and Schweinsteiger, met in yesterday’s regular season finale between the Chicago Fire and D.C. United which ended in a goalless draw.

After the game, both Rooney and Schweinsteiger spoke of Europe taking more interest in MLS and the prospect of more players potentially moving across the Atlantic Ocean to play in the American top flight.

bastian schweinsteiger wayne rooney

“It’s a great league, very competitive, and if players from Europe want to come, and if it’s the right players they would be welcome,” Wayne Rooney said four days after turning 33.

“A lot of people especially now in England are watching the MLS and taking a lot more notice.”

Rooney’s current team named United kicked off just a couple hours after his former team named United beat another of his former clubs, Everton 2-1.

“Yeah, I watched it, and it is what it is and obviously United won,” Rooney said with absolute minimalism and little to no reaction of the match between the two teams who played in his testimonial.

Wayne Rooney and D.C. United will host the Columbus Crew in the MLS Cup playoffs on November 1. For Schweinsteiger and the Fire, the season is now over, and perhaps the German midfielder will move on to another team. Schweini admitted in postgame media opportunities that his future with the club is uncertain. 

wayne rooney

Schweinsteiger however was more loquacious when discussing the potential of more players joining the MLS. He wouldn’t name specific names, but he said big time players on United and Bayern Munich, for the German and England national teams, have expressed interest in the idea and consulted him about it.

There is however some concern among these players about the direction of Major League Soccer.

There are many players that are asking me about MLS and also Chicago Fire,” the midfielder said, before mentioning how the substantial issues that MLS faces do provide a level of concern among European players courting with the idea of coming over.

“It’s an interesting league with a a lot of potential, but still it’s not like Europe,” he continued.

bastian schweinsteiger

“You can see that from week to week. There are some situations in the game that are not happening in Europe.”

“They are very big players. They are names, and they ask me, but they are not coming if they see the league is not growing, if clubs  do not grow,” he added.

“The league has to make the right steps but if the league decides to go in the right direction and also change some things to come closer to (being on the same level as) the leagues in Europe, then they will join the league, but if it doesn’t happen, then they won’t come.”

“There is potential, you just have to use it,” the captain of the 2014 World Champions concluded.

In Schweinsteiger’s first season with the Fire, 2017, the club had the third best regular season record in MLS. However, 2018 was disastrous as they finished second from the bottom in the Eastern Conference. One thing they did right, at least on this day in a game where they had nothing to play for, was take pride in playing great defense.

 Wayne Rooney, who has been absolutely on fire lately in MLS, scoring at will over the past few weeks and months, was shut out.

“I think that, of course, Wayne, you always have to keep an eye on him,” Schweinsteiger said about the task of defending Rooney.

“With one chance, he can make the goal like he did in D.C. so you have to keep an eye on him. But not only him, D.C. has some pieces, especially their offensive threat. You always have to keep an eye on it. I wish him all the best for the playoffs, it’s great that he joined the league.”

wayne rooney

Fire Manager Veljko Paunovic went into more detail about the keys to stopping Wayne Rooney, which included placing Schweinsteiger at center back, instead of in midfield.

“I think having Bastian Schweinsteiger next to him helps a lot,” Paunovic said.

“It helps in the challenges where he has to play one-on-one against him but also to deal and organize the back line so we could be more dense. Djordje and Dax (McCarty) did a great job cutting out Acosta.”

“I think the two of them, they connect very well. Rooney lays off the balls to him and then the final pass, and the talent Acosta has is very difficult to defend and obviously a lot of quality there.”

bastian schweinsteiger

“I think between our two center backs, Bastian and Jonny Campbell, and our two midfielders, Dax and Djordje, did a great job playing 4v2 basically all the time, against the two of them and that was very helpful for the rest of the team.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Lineups.com and Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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  1. the best football player in the world roooney

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