Mourinho banned me from entering the locker room; I ended up training with Manchester United's U-16s

Schweinsteiger recalls the tumultuous 2016/17 season, revealing that he was banned from training with his teammates and entering the Manchester United locker room. He ended up training alone for the rest of the year.

Mourinho banned me from entering the locker room; I ended up training with Manchester United's U-16s Embed from Getty Images

Bastian Schweinsteiger says he was banned from training with the Manchester United first team during the 2016/17 season under José Mourinho's management, even training with the club's under-16s. The midfielder reveals that he felt the club wanted to push him out of Old Trafford.

The 39-year-old retired German was signed in 2015 under Louis van Gaal's leadership and won the FA Cup in his first year. He then went on to the 2016 European Championship and later joined the team, but still in the preseason, under the Portuguese coach's tenure.

It was the 2016 preseason, and I was with the German national team. We went far in Euro 2016, reaching the semifinals, so I arrived a bit later at Manchester United, and the team was in the US for a preseason tour. When I arrived, on the first day, I trained with Ibrahimovic, and I thought it was great, a player with vision with whom it's fantastic to play. The next day, on my birthday, when I entered Carrington [United's training ground], John Murtogh [football director] was there and said I wasn't allowed to enter the locker room, as the coach had said. There was no warning, nothing. Someone could have told me on my first training day or explained it in a normal way, but well, I went to the youth locker room and trained with the under-16s. Yes, I was completely kicked out [of the first-team locker room], so I had to ask [Murtough] to bring me my boots and training gear. I asked him who I would train with, and he said there was the under-16 team, so I went to train with the under-16s," he recounted in an interview on "The Overlap" podcast.

"I asked if I could speak with the coach in the afternoon, so when I returned from training with the under-16s, where I trained so poorly because I didn't know what was going on or if it was a joke, I had a meeting with José Mourinho in the afternoon. He explained to me that he didn't see me happy here at United because when I had my injury, I did my rehabilitation with German doctors, spending some time in Germany. Of course, I returned to United and was in touch with the doctors and attended the games. I had a conversation with Louis van Gaal when he was the coach, and he told me to come on weekends to United and stay in touch with the doctors, they needed me fit, and there was an FA Cup final that I almost played in. That was our agreement, and I kept it. For me, I just wanted to stay healthy and be able to play - I kept the agreement with Louis van Gaal, but it's obvious that the management thought a bit differently. It was only me [who was moved to the youth locker room]. After that, I trained alone for at least three months with a fitness coach. I trained before and after the first team. Mourinho never let me train with the first team; I think they wanted to get rid of me," he continued.

"At that moment, I was still very happy at United, loved wearing the shirt, loved it. I thought maybe it was just a period, that I would continue training and staying fit, and perhaps one day they would change their minds. My dream was always to return to Old Trafford," he explained, also speaking about the reaction of his teammates: "I didn't see them, sometimes I passed by a few or received a message. They said they didn't understand the decision, but I didn't see them; I had to train in the morning or after their session so as not to see them."

Schweinsteiger played in three games that season and eventually moved to the Chicago Fire of MLS. He played until October 2019.

Updated: 03:49, 18 Apr 2024

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