From his first cap to the heartbreak of 2006, the joy of 2014 and the despair of this summer, Bastian Schweinsteiger has enjoyed an international career to cherish.
Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his international retirement after a distinguished career in which he won 120 caps, the FIFA World Cup and a legion of fans. UEFA.com picks out his most memorable moments for his country.
First appearance for Germany
Fresh from the UEFA European Under-21 Championship on home soil, Schweinsteiger received a late call-up to Germany's squad for UEFA EURO 2004 in Portugal.
The then 19-year-old was preparing for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship when coach Rudi Völler asked him to join the senior side – and so a remarkable international career began. This image shows 'Schweini' earning his first ever Germany cap, during a 2-0 pre-tournament friendly defeat by Hungary.
A double to open his account
Schweinsteiger would end up scoring 24 goals for Germany, the first two of which came in a 2-2 friendly draw with Russia in June 2005.
"Basti is providing us with a lot of joy," coach Jürgen Klinsmann said at the time. "Last autumn he was in a tough spot, playing in the third league [for Bayern's second team], but he has been a determined worker. It's exciting to see him going through a learning process."
When Germany's 2006 FIFA World Cup 'Summer Tale' came to a premature halt in the semi-final against Italy, Schweinsteiger was one of the most dejected figures in a sea of sad faces in Dortmund.
It would not be the last bitterly disappointing moment in Schweinsteiger's international career, but one he would later cite as a defining one.
A partial remedy
It was Schweinsteiger who would help Germany's football fans dry their tears just a few days later in Stuttgart. Now 21, Schweinsteiger scored two fine goals against Portugal which earned him the Man of the Match award and Germany a bronze medal.
"We just had to put the match against Italy behind us, life goes on", he said after the game. The 'Summer Tale' had a happy ending and images of Schweinsteiger exhuberantly celebrating his goals in an apparently irrelevant game made him a fans' favourite well beyond the borders of Munich.
Schweinsteiger's international career has been, and always will be, closely linked to that of Lukas Podolski. They both joined the EURO 2004 squad as youngsters and represented a new generation of German footballers.
Ten years after the easygoing duo of 'Poldi & Schweini' first made headlines for die Mannschaft, they would frolic and dance on the pitch of Maracana, World Cup trophy in hand.
The best performance
The 2010 World Cup saw Schweinsteiger reach his peak in terms of his technical ability and strategic value for Germany. He always seemed to relish matches against Argentina and especially so during their quarter-final encounter in South Africa.
Masterfully intercepting Argentina's attacks and initiating devastating counters, Schweinsteiger muted the few remaining critics who suggested he didn't take enough responsibility. Michael Ballack's pre-tournament injury was no longer a talking point.
Fast forward four years and again the opponents are Argentina, though now it is on the biggest stage of all. For 120 minutes Schweinsteiger has to suffer a number of niggly fouls.
Every time he picks himself up, towards the end bleeding and limping, and the reward for a self-sacrificing performance is eternal. Germany secure a late 1-0 victory and Schweinsteiger adds a World Cup title to his long list of accolades.
No happy ending
Although Schweinsteiger lacked fitness and didn't play for months prior to UEFA EURO 2016, his great admirer Joachim Löw never hesitated in taking him to France. Indeed the captain made a fairy-tale comeback, scoring as a late substitute during Germany's 2-0 opening win against Ukraine, but was denied another title after a semi-final defeat by the hosts.
"Over the course of 120 international matches I experienced moments which were beautiful beyond description," Schweinsteiger wrote in a message to his fans. "The EURO 2016 title would have meant so much to me, but it wasn't meant to be and I have to accept this.
"By winning the World Cup in 2014 we achieved something which was historic and emotional. I will not be able to repeat this in my career. It is therefore right and sensible to call it quits and wish the team all the best for the World Cup in 2018."