After an 18-year career looking stud-tastic in Sweden, England, America, Scotland and Japan, Karl Fredrik “Freddie” Ljungberg has finally confirmed his retirement from football.
Loved by Arsenal fans the world over for his nine year spell at both Highbury and the Emirates, the Super Swede with red hair, panther tattoo and Calvin Klein pants will be especially remembered for his match-winning performances in the 2001/02 Double winning side and his role as one of the club’s ‘Invincibles’.
It’s hard to believe it was 14-years ago that a scampish 21-year-old, looking more like a lost punk than a footballer, took to the field as a sub against Manchester United and promptly opened his Arsenal account by lobbing Peter Schmeichel. He became an immediate terrace favourite and stayed that way until his departure for West Ham United in 2007.
While he continued his great goal record against Manchester United throughout his time in N5, it was his swashbuckling run and deftly curled effort in the FA Cup final against Chelsea that most Arsenal fans will forever cherish. It was one of a number of notable goals he scored; efforts at the Reebok Stadium and Anfield also coming to mind.
While injuries took their toll on his productivity on the field and the telepathic relationship he appeared to have with Dennis Bergkamp, Freddie remained a popular figure both in the dressing-room and with the tabloids. Most importantly though, even when his hair receded his song was still sung with gusto on the terraces.
Speaking about his decision to hang up his boots (and possibly fancy pants), the Swede told homeland publication Aftonbladet that he would always look back with fondness on his time as a Gunner.
“Football has given me an awful lot, but what I can bring up is the special feeling that existed at Arsenal.
“All the players in the team were top three in the world in their positions, but everyone was nice. We were a bunch of guys who had a great time.
“There was no prestige and when we won the league and cups everyone was included in the pictures.
“We were like a family. When we won something and you felt that togetherness… That feeling I don’t think I will ever get to experience again.”
Asked how he would like to be remembered, he responded:
“Like a guy who always tried to be humble and always gave everything for the teams I’ve played for.”
Trust us Freddie, you’ll be remembered for that and a whole lot more.
Arseblog News will forever consider you “Fuckin’ Excellent”…
Thanks to the team at Goon Rambler for the translation