Schweinsteiger extends Bayern contract till 2016

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BERLIN (Reuters) -- Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has extended his contract with the German champions by four years until 2016.

Grabbing the stadium microphone minutes after their 3-0 Bundesliga win over St Pauli, the German international told the fans: "I have extended my contract and will stay here until 2016. Long live Bayern".

Schweinsteiger, 26, has become an influential figure for club and country and helped Germany to a third-place finish at the World Cup in South Africa earlier this year.

Bayern coach Louis van Gaal recently urged the club to consider selling Schweinsteiger at the end of the season should he refuse to sign an extension, so as not to lose out on a transfer fee worth tens of millions of euros.

The player, who has been at Bayern since the age of 14 and has won five German championships and five German Cups, hinted earlier this season that he could leave.

According to media reports, several top European clubs were interested in signing him.

Bayern had already extended contracts to 2014 or beyond with several other leading players including Franck Ribery, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller and Holger Badstuber.