Bastian Schweinsteiger ended his international career on a winning note as Germany secured a 2-0 friendly victory over Finland in Monchengladbach.
A close-range finish from Olympic silver-medallist Max Meyer early in the second half and Paulus Arajuuri’s late own-goal decided the game in the hosts’ favour, but it was the retiring Schweinsteiger who took centre stage.
In what was his 121st appearance for his country, the Manchester United midfielder completed 67 minutes and posed for a selfie with a pitch invader wearing a ‘Schweinsteiger 7’ shirt, before leaving the field to a standing ovation.
And the 32-year-old, who announced his intention to retire following Germany’s elimination at Euro 2016, was reduced to tears as he addressed the crowd.
“It means so much that you’re here today,” he said. “It has been an honour to play for you.
“I think you all saw how it affected me.
“I had just wanted to enjoy every moment, but I hadn’t expected it to be so lovely.”
Schweinsteiger, who had been linked with a deadline-day move out of Old Trafford, helped steer Germany to the 2014 World Cup and represented his country at six other major tournaments.
He made his international debut in a 2004 friendly clash with Hungary and went on to score 24 goals.
Germany start their World Cup qualification campaign with a trip to Norway on Sunday.
Thanks for everything!
It was a great honor for me. pic.twitter.com/aPSWMJzb6x
— Basti Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) August 31, 2016