Will Schweinsteiger return to the Chicago Fire in 2018?
Will Bastian Schweinsteiger return to the Chicago Fire next season?
For now the answer remains uncertain.
Does the German superstar want to return to Chicago?
"The club knows my answer on that," he said after briefly considering his answer while signing souvenirs for the club.
Schweinsteiger, 33, noted he has no contract for next season; technically, he and the club agreed to a mutual option for next season, but that basically leaves a new contract open to negotiation.
Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said the club and player will talk after this season ends but not before to keep the focus on the upcoming playoffs.
"I don't want to speak for Basti, but from what we've gleaned and what he's shared with us, he and Ana (Ivanovic, his wife) are very comfortable in the city," Rodriguez said. "They love it. I think he's really enjoyed the locker room, the guys, the support of the fans. I think he's really taken to the challenge of Major League Soccer.
"And so I think the signs are positive."
Rodriguez added the club views its relationship this season with Schweinsteiger as "extraordinarily positive."
Schweinsteiger added his leg injury is improving but he will not play at Houston on Sunday in the regular-season finale. He hopes to be ready for the Fire's first playoff game, which could be as soon as Oct. 25.
Schweinsteiger has played in 24 MLS games for the Fire, contributing 3 goals and 6 assists.
On the mend:
Juninho hasn't played since Sept. 9 due to a "chronic knee issue," but he said after training Wednesday he is ready to play. He has trained apart from his teammates the last five days in an effort to regain his fitness.
"I don't feel nothing in my knee anymore, 100 percent from here to forward to be able to help the team get a title," the veteran midfielder said.
Could he require surgery on the knee after the season?
"That's a good question. I think about it, but it's not 100 percent sure if we're going to do it or not," he said. "But I have to think about that because if I don't take care of that it can be an issue in the future."
Rookie midfielder Daniel Johnson is back training with his teammates after a knee injury.
Losing the Crew:
Word out of Columbus this week is that the Crew will move, most likely to Austin, Texas, if it can't get a new stadium built in downtown Columbus.
Columbus is the Fire's closest geographic rival in MLS. The other Midwestern clubs are Sporting Kansas City and expansion side Minnesota United.
"I don't think it affects us too much," Rodriguez said. " … There's a lot of history between the clubs and the fans, and hopefully that can continue."