Bastian Schweinsteiger retires from international football in tears
After 12 years in Germany's dress and 24 goals in 121 caps, Schweinsteiger stepped back from the national squad on Wednesday and bid goodbye to his supporters ahead of the kick-off against Finland.
"It means a lot to me that each one of you is here. I would like to thank the whole national team. It was a great honour to play for Germany," Schweinsteiger, who was moved to tears, said to the 30,121 fans at the stadium.
An emotional Schweinsteiger also wrote an open letter addressing his fans ahead of his last match for his national side. Here is what he wrote:
"The time has come. The international friendly against Finland this evening will be my last match for Germany. This evening means a lot to me, all my family, friends and some acquaintances will be watching from the stands. I think it's magnificent that I've been given the opportunity to thank you like this. Of course, I feel a bit sad but I feel a sense of joy more than anything else. I am so excited to hear the national anthem and play for Germany one last time.
"After twelve years of playing for the national team, all that's left to say is thank you. I would like to thank the DFB who have always succeeded in creating an exceptional atmosphere amongst the national team. My coaches, especially Joachim Löw, under his leadership I've become a better and more mature international player.
My teammates with who I've continued to pursue our goals and achieve them. Also, the support staff who do so much behind the scenes for the team. The national team is a total work of art. Thank you to everyone who has been involved.
"My biggest thank you goes to you, the fans. Thank you for your patience, your trust and your support. The pictures from the fan park, your excitement and your celebrations and emotions were all my motivation. What I can say for certain is that without you, mine and our journeys would not have been possible.
"When I look back on it all, I remember so many highlights. The home World-Cup in Germany and the progress made from 2008 to 2010. In 2012 there was a minor setback, but part of our success story is how we dealt with these blows.
Then came the crowning moment in 2014. Even after that, there were some great moments. For the last two years I have been able to captain this team, and for me, it was incredibly special to be able to wear the armband.
"Today I can safely say that I have achieved a lot than anything I could have dreamed of as a child. This makes me both happy and proud. With this outcome, I feel I can leave the side with a good conscience. The time is right to go and I leave with great satisfaction.
"So long and farewell,
Schweinsteiger, who plays for Manchester United, will be facing tough time in club football after manager Jose Mourinho said that the midfielder is going to find it very hard to play for the side.