'World Cup for Chicago Fire?' question derails Bastian Schweinsteiger presser

Bastian Schweinsteiger's introductory news conference at Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire went viral after he was asked by a reporter whether his new club could win the World Cup, a competition exclusively for international teams.

The former Germany international's move to MLS club from Manchester United was confirmed on Wednesday after the formality of his visa had been resolved.

And at Schweinsteiger's first chance to face the media in Chicago, Derek Henkle, a general assignment video journalist, asked: "I'm wondering, Bastian, you just talked about Chicago developing a good Fire club, both you first and then for the coach. I wonder with your addition to this team is it a fair expectation to see a clear pathway towards a World Cup competition come out of Chicago?"

A club representative tried to smooth over the exchange by telling Schweinsteiger: "He's referring to the World Club Cup."

To which the reporter added: "Let me rephrase. Do you expect, now that you are here Bastian, that a World Cup goal for the Chicago Fire is a realistic expectation?"

The German was elegant in his reply, even after Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez tried to redirect the question by saying: "Not the World Cup, we as a club don't play for the World Cup. But we will adjust it to MLS Cup."

Schweinsteiger said: "I think in football everything is realistic and I always believe in that team which I play for can win, even if it's against the best team in the world you have a chance to win -- so I experienced it a lot in my career that everything is possible.

"And of course I am not here to say that we will win the league. That is not my way. I want to win the next match, from match to match to match and then see at the end of the day where we are and that's all. What I can do and I think what we can do. But I hope that with the vision of Nelson and [coach Veljko Paunovic] this club becomes to a 'world club' as you said."

The MLS side poked fun at the situation by accompanying a photo of Schweinsteiger's maiden training session with a the hashtag #RoadToRussia, the same hashtag used by national teams and FIFA confederations for qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

Henkle, whose identity was confirmed by The Telegraph, told the English newspaper that as a general assignment journalist he usually covers "everything ranging from presidential politics to science," and he thought Schweinsteiger's patient response was a "classy move."

"My question missed its mark, but it has allowed me to become better educated on the ins and outs of soccer," he said.

Schweinsteiger could make his debut for the Fire, who finished last in the Eastern Conference last season, winning just seven of their 34 matches, this weekend when they face Montreal Impact at Toyota Park.

The 32-year-old said: "I am ready. I was preparing before I came here and, of course, I need some days more training but I feel I am ready whenever the coach needs me.

"I need more training sessions to have the right rhythm, where I want to see myself, but my head is more than 100 percent and I feel quite comfortable. The training session was pretty intense today and I could do it, so that was good."

Schweinsteiger's stay at Old Trafford ended last week after he agreed to join Chicago Fire on a one-year contract for a reported salary of US dollars $4.5 million.

So rushed was the deal, he said he did not have the opportunity to bid farewell to his United teammates, who were busy preparing for their Premier League game away at Middlesbrough.

"It was not so easy because the decision was a bit late so I couldn't say a proper goodbye to the team," he said. "Also they had a match away against -- I can't remember -- but they had a match on Sunday so I couldn't really tell them because I didn't want the focus on me, I wanted to have the focus on the team and the game. So I was very happy that they won.

"I had a great time there, especially with the teammates and the staff there, it was a good time and I enjoyed it there."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.