Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola says Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has not been fully fit in three years. The 31-year-old signed a three-year contract at Old Trafford in June following his reported £14m move from the German champions.
While the Germany international's substantial pedigree at international and club level has been tipped to help United this season, particularly with their return to the Champions League, question marks over his long-term fitness remain.
In his final season at the Allianz Arena, Schweinsteiger started just 15 Bundesliga games and has not had a completely injury-free season since 2011. While Guardiola believes his former player can be instrumental to Louis van Gaal's side when fit, he says his injury woes prevented him reaching that level during his final years in Munich.
"When he does not have injury problems, I am completely convinced he will do very well at Manchester United," Guardiola was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "He is a top, top player. Unfortunately, the last three years he was never in good condition. When he is in very good condition I am convinced he will be a good player for them. I really hope that is going to happen."
Schweinsteiger's starting appearances for Bayern steadily decreased in his final three seasons at the club amid a string of ankle and knee injuries. The powerful midfielder started 27 league games as Bayern won the treble during the 2012-13 season but that tally fell to 22 the following campaign. Last season's 15 appearances was his smallest contribution to the club since the 2002-03 campaign.
Guardiola was also full of praise for someone who could soon join Schweinsteiger at Old Trafford in Barcelona winger Pedro. According to the Guardian, United are hopeful of striking a £22m deal for the Spain international who the Bayern boss believes is good enough to play for any team in the world.
"He is one of the best players you can imagine. He's won the European Cup, the Champions League and played millions of games for Barcelona," he continued. "He can play in any team in the world. He's a great player."