Bastian Schweinsteiger doesn't believe his former club Bayern Munich need to change much, even if the German giants will only add the Bundesliga title to their large trophy case this season. But if he were sporting director for a day, he knows who he would want to bring in to return the team to their treble-winning glory.
"That’s difficult, but if you ask me which kind of player I would like to see in the Bayern Munich jersey then I would probably say I would like to see Neymar in a Bayern Munich jersey," Schweinsteiger told Goal in an exclusive interview Friday. "But I don’t know if he wants to."
Schweinsteiger's suggestion of having Neymar join fellow Brazilians Douglas Costa and Rafinha, as well as Spanish-Brazilian midfielder Thiago, comes as Neymar is being heavily linked to Manchester United — the same club with which Schweinsteiger just endured a personal hell.
Schweinsteiger and Neymar have actually struck up an unlikely friendship in recent years. Having faced the Brazilian star on the international level, Schweinsteiger developed an admiration for his skill and free-spirited personality, and eventually connected with Neymar through a Brazilian club team-mate.
"Actually, I’m also quite a fan of Neymar. Not only about his game style, but also his personality," Schweinsteiger said. "(The connection) actually came from (former Bayern Munich defender) Dante. He was playing with him in the Selecao, and he wanted to have a shirt of mine so I gave Dante a shirt of mine for Neymar. Every time when we played against each other there was a lot of respect.
"I also remember in 2014 when we won the World Cup in Brazil, and I met him during my vacation — it was a coincidence," Schweinsteiger added. "Then we spent some hours or some days together, so it was quite fun. He’s good guy. He’s a typical Brazilian. His heart is good. He’s a good person and, for me, one of the best players at the moment."
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) August 2, 2014
Schweinsteiger wears the Brazil No. 10 shirt while partying with Neymar in Ibiza. [PHOTO] pic.twitter.com/uP00PIUi1y MT @FASfootball
— Brazil Character Lab (@scharlab) August 4, 2014
Neymar with Schweinsteiger in Ibiza. pic.twitter.com/DgmoxbI7L5
— Barça (@SocialBarca_10) August 7, 2014
Neymar actually drew some criticism for partying with Schweinsteiger so soon after Germany's 7-1 demolition of Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, scrutiny the German midfielder believes is borne out of a Brazil's desperation to have another transcendent world superstar.
"It’s not easy for him as well, because the whole Brazil are looking forward to getting a new Ronaldo or Ronaldinho, and I think with Neymar they have a player who can achieve all these goals which they have," Schweinsteiger said. "I hope that he will one day be player of the year in the world, and I wish him all the best."