Bastian Schweinsteiger says it was never his intention to leave Manchester United, but was “surprised” to be frozen out under Jose Mourinho.
The World Cup winner saw injury ruin the end of his 2015-16 season, while the current campaign got off to the worst possible start as he was exiled from the first-team picture at Old Trafford.
The German midfielder eventually earned a reprieve, but gametime remained in short supply and he jumped at the chance to link up with MLS side Chicago Fire in March.
Schweinsteiger told Newsweek on his struggles at United: “When everything happened in the preseason with the manager [Mourinho], for me it was a test.
“I wanted to play for United, I wanted to play at Old Trafford. It was always my goal.
“I was training individually. I remember Mourinho in November spoke to me and took me in the first team again and said I could train again. But I was looking forward to getting more minutes and to play.”
Schweinsteiger would take in just four appearances before being moved on, with none of those coming in the Premier League.
He admits being shunted from the fold was difficult to take, but he is looking to stay positive and insists that he wishes United and Mourinho all the best now that a frustrating chapter in his distinguished career has been closed.
“I’m always a positive person,” he added. “Of course I was surprised at how it was at the beginning of the season with the club and the manager.
“He apologised, as you know, and I think if we had met at a different time it would have been different, but it is how it is. I am now happy to be here in Chicago and I wish Manchester United all the best.
“I am always happy when they win, especially if they can reach the Champions League spots. But I’m focused now here on Fire.
“I won’t forget the supporters of United and also the team and the players.”
Mourinho admitted at the end of March that his treatment of Schweinsteiger was wrong, with the Portuguese conceding that he now regrets forcing an experienced campaigner towards the exits.