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Schweinsteiger signs one-year deal to return to Fire

Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, right, controls the ball against the New York Red Bulls' Gonzalo Veron during the second half of an MLS soccer playoff game last year in Bridgeview. | AP

Bastian Schweinsteiger is back, and he has more goals to accomplish at Toyota Park.

The Fire re-signed the 33-year-old midfielder to a one-year designated player contract Wednesday. Financial terms were not disclosed. Schweinsteiger earned $5.4 million in 2017.

Though the signing comes relatively late in the offseason, the news wasn’t unexpected.

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“I am very happy to re-sign with the Chicago Fire, and to continue what we started in 2017,” Schwein-steiger said in a news release.

“Last year was a special moment for my career, but it felt incomplete without a trophy. But I am sure we can create another memorable season with the support of our great fans. I love this city, this sport and winning, so I look forward to another season with the Fire as we progress to hopefully another level of success.”

Schweinsteiger joined the Fire last March and immediately brought credibility and attention to a franchise desperately seeking both. He appeared in 24 regular-season games and scored three goals. He also captained the MLS All-Star team against Real Madrid in August at Soldier Field.

Schweinsteiger won a World Cup title with Germany in 2014 and a UEFA Champions League title in 2013 with Bayern Munich.

Off the field, Schweinsteiger brings a celebrity buzz that’s rare in MLS. Along with wife Ana Ivanovic — a former world No. 1 tennis player who won the 2008 French Open — Schweinsteiger has been seen around town at numerous sporting events since his arrival. As of Wednesday, Schweinsteiger’s Facebook page had 9.5 million likes, and he had 8.7 million Instagram followers and another 4.82 million on Twitter.

In a news release, Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said “it was a priority” to re-sign Schwein-steiger.

“He’s a proven winner who was an integral part of our success in 2017,” Rodriguez said. “Bastian’s talent combined with his character and qualities off the field are vital to our squad as we continue to build a championship program.”

This and that

The Windy City Bulls acquired the returning player rights of Henry Sims and a third-round pick in the 2018 draft from Salt Lake City in exchange for Diamond Stone. Stone played in 13 games for Windy City, averaging 13.9 points.

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The Irish reached last year’s Frozen Four in Chicago but lost 6-1 to Denver, the eventual champion, in the semifinals.

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