Jose Mourinho would do well to cancel any public appearances he had planned in Germany this month. In the footballing world, at least, he is public enemy No 1.
In Germany, the reaction to Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Manchester United exile has been swift and furious.
Among commentators, players and managers, German football’s blood is running as hot as Mourinho’s runs cold.
After Schweinsteiger was told – on his birthday – to clear his locker and join the reserves, Schweinsteiger’s brother Tobias tweeted the words ‘no respect’, and Bayern Munich chief-executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wondered whether Mourinho’s behaviour would discourage other players from joining United.
Those two remarks sparked a wave of similar outbursts in Germany.
“Mourinho has shown a lack of respect towards a player who deserves more,” said former Bayern and Borussia Dortmund coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.
“Schweinsteiger is a great player, a World Cup winner and a wonderful human being.”
It is not just Bayern’s royal family that Mourinho has infuriated, but the whole of the German football world.
New Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl joined the chorus of criticism for his United counterpart.
“It is always important to show the necessary respect to established, experienced players like Bastian Schweinsteiger,” he said.
That Mourinho has decided not to include Schweinsteiger in his plans is unsurprising, even in Germany.
The midfielder’s injuries are well documented, and his struggles at United were watched with a certain knowing gloom from his home country.
It is the manner in which Mourinho booted their hero out that Germany objects to.
Abendzeitung wrote that Schweinsteiger had been ‘degraded on his birthday’, while the Tagesspiegel saw it as a ‘expulsion devoid of style.’
The timing just made it worse.
Just a few days ago, Schweinsteiger was on a pedestal so high he nearly went into orbit.
After the United midfielder announced his retirement from international football, Germany descended into a teary flood of tributes.
“Thank you, football God”, was the headline adorning several tabloids and Twitter memes. In every newsagent, Schweinsteiger was there.
Bloodied, dazed and in tears at the final whistle in Rio, or triumphant, holding the World Cup aloft in Berlin, his cape swinging in the breeze.
It was a hero’s send-off, a perfect end to what had been a fairytale summer for Schweinsteiger the public figure.
He had returned from injury to captain his side at Euro 2016, married tennis star Ana Ivanovic, and then been celebrated by all and sundry upon his retirement.
Mourinho’s brutality rather soured the rivers of milk and honey.
“It is a sensible decision,” said Germany legend Uwe Seeler of Schweinsteiger’s retirement. “Now he can concentrate on his club and his marriage.”
Now, it seems, Schweinsteiger will be watching tennis, unless he finds a new club quickly.
A return to Bayern is written in the stars, but only once his playing days are over.
Moves to Inter, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain have all been mooted, as has a return to the Bundesliga.
Some have suggested he might join Hamburg, as fellow Bayern legend Franz Beckenbauer did in the twilight of his career.
Yet that seems ever more unlikely.
Not only is Schweinsteiger too loyal to Bayern but the Hamburg fans seem to agree with Mourinho.
A recent poll in the Hamburger Morgenpost showed that 60 per cent of them didn’t want their club to buy the World Cup winner.
Whether Italy, France or even the USA, Schweinsteiger looks set to end his career as a wandering minstrel.
For the Germans who see him as a statesman of football, that is the greatest indignity of all.
Source: Mail Online