Bastian Schweinsteiger has revealed he did not get the chance to properly say goodbye to his Manchester United team-mates before signing for Chicago Fire.
The German’s move to the Major League Soccer club was officially confirmed by United on Wednesday afternoon after the formality of his visa had been resolved.
Schweinsteiger’s stay at Old Trafford ended last week after he agreed to join Chicago Fire on a one-year contract for a reported salary of US dollars 4.5million (£3.6million).
But so rushed was the deal, he revealed he did not have the opportunity to bid farewell to the United players – who were busy preparing for their Premier League game away at Middlesbrough.
Speaking to the press on his unveiling, Schweinsteiger said: “It was not so easy because the decision was a bit late so I couldn’t say a proper goodbye to the team.
“Also they had a match away against – I can’t remember – but they had a match on Sunday so I couldn’t really tell them because I didn’t want the focus on me, I wanted to have the focus on the team and the game. So I was very happy that they won.
“I had a great time there, especially with the team-mates and the staff there, it was a good time and I enjoyed it there.”
Schweinsteiger could make his debut for Chicago Fire – who finished last in the Eastern Conference last season, winning just seven of their 34 matches – this weekend when they face Montreal Impact at Toyota Park.
The 32-year-old said: “I am ready. I was preparing before I came here and, of course, I need some days more training but I feel I am ready whenever the coach needs me.
“I need more training sessions to have the right rhythm, where I want to see myself, but my head is more than 100 per cent and I feel quite comfortable. The training session was pretty intense today and I could do it, so that was good.”
A move away from United seemed inevitable for Schweinsteiger, who was signed by former manager Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2015, for some time after he was largely frozen out under Jose Mourinho.
But despite his difficulties during his time at Old Trafford, Schweinsteiger remained hugely popular among United players and fans.
United confirmed his exit had been finalised via statement on the club’s official website, manutd.com, which said: “Bastian Schweinsteiger has completed his move from Manchester United to Chicago Fire.
“The World Cup winner has joined the Major League Soccer side on a permanent basis after passing a medical and receiving his visa.
“After being given a hero’s welcome by supporters at his new club, Schweinsteiger has finalised the required paperwork and could be in line for a debut against Montreal Impact at the weekend.
“The 32-year-old made 35 appearances for the Reds and scored twice, against Leicester City in the Premier League last season and Wigan Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup earlier this year.
“Everybody at United would like to wish Basti the very best of luck in the next chapter of his career.”