However, after four months of strife, the midfielder finally managed to receive some minutes on the pitch, coming on as an 86th minute substitute during Man United’s 4-1 win over West Ham United.
Ibrahimovic, speaking after the game, was quick to laud the German’s commitment to the cause in the face of adversity.
“I’m happy for him. I’m happy because the situation of him hasn’t been easy,” he said.
“He has been working hard, he’s kept patient and mentally it’s not easy – especially when you have had a career just like his. I have nothing but respect for him and super happy that he’s back.
“And also the person is fantastic, so happy to see him back on the field and you could see the crowd was happy also.”
It was, without doubt, the loudest reception a substitution has received this season. Supporters rose as one to salute a man who never gave up, even in the face of outright rejection.
One cannot help but view Schweinsteiger’s last few months as a remarkable tale. After months of training alone and sending awkward good-luck messages to the side before every game, the German forced his way back in to the first team – a step forward. He then, out of almost nowhere, secured a place on the bench last weekend – another step forward.
And then, on a cold Wednesday night, with the game effectively over, came the final step. United fans were quick to register their support for a man who could have easily found another club, but instead remained loyal to the club they love.