At 46 years old, Freddie Ljungberg has this physical status:
Karl Fredrik Ljungberg (born 16 April 1977) is a Swedish former professional footballer and the current interim head coach of Arsenal. He began his career at Halmstad and went on to spend the majority of his time at Arsenal, winning awards including two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, as well as two in 2002.
He had short stints at a variety of clubs in England, Scotland, the United States, Japan, and India before leaving Arsenal in 2007.
Ljungberg, who has competed for more than a decade, earned 75 caps and represented Sweden's national team at UEFA EURO 2000, 2004, and 2008, as well as at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.
After UEFA Euro 2008, he was captain of Sweden from 2006 to 2007 before he announced his international retirement.
He worked for Nike, Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal, Puma, Beats, ESPN, and Pepsi.
Roy Alve Erling Ljungberg, a civil engineer and owner of a building and consultancy firm, and Elisabeth Bodil Ljungberg, a Swedish Labor Department employee, were born on April 16, 1977 in Vittsjö. On September 12, 1984, the Ljungbergs had another son, Karl Oskar Filip. The Ljungberg family immigrated from Vittsjö to Halmstad in 1982. The tenacious five-year-old boy would not have any interest in moving at first. He argued with his parents that he did not want to live in Halmstad. His parents relented and took him to Halmstads, BK, where he was a member of manager Olle Eriksson's youth team.
Ljungberg was mentored by Eriksson from age five to fourteen. Eriksson's impression of the youngster was that he was extremely gifted for his age and that he was considerate of other players, noting that Ljungberg would give the ball to his friends in order to give them a chance to score. He cites Brazilian footballer Sócrates and Eriksson for having a major influence on his career. Ljungberg's youth, he loved playing ice hockey and discovered a natural handball skill, but he eventually was called up to the under-15 national handball team, but decided not to focus on football.
Ljungberg did well in academics and sports. His grades averaged 4.1 on the five-point scale when he finished ninth grade in his högstadium academy. Ljungberg, a student at the University of 18 years, studied information technology and economics at the University of Michigan, but he had trouble balancing the tumultuous academic schedule with the physically demanding commitments of professional football. He departed from college to focus on his football career later this year.
Ljungberg, a 12 year old boy, pleaded for Halmstad BK to transfer him from P12 to P14, which was against Halmstad's current policy. Ljungberg, a 14-year-old boy, joined the junior team under coach Robert Nordström at age 14. His perseverance paid off three years later, when he was promoted to the senior team three years ago.
Ljungberg made his senior debut against AIK on October 23, 1994. Ljungberg played 31 games in 1995, scoring his first goal as a professional player. Halmstad won the Svenska Cupen the same year as well. Despite undergoing injuries, Halmstad won the Allsvenskan with Ljungberg netting and assisting goals that season for the club. During his time with Halmstad, he made 139 appearances and scored 16 goals for the club. Ljungberg's star, who had won numerous awards in his time with Halmstad, was on the rise, with fans from Barcelona, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Parma, and Arsenal all interested.
In 1998, Ljungberg was signed by Arsenal for £3 million. Arsenal scouts followed him for more than a year, and Arsenal's boss, Arsène Wenger, took the unusual move of authorizing the transfer after watching Ljungberg play for Sweden in their victory over England on television, but not seeing him live. Knowing Ljungberg's performance against England, he told Wenger that Ljungberg would be able to deal with English opponents, and he was signed shortly after. On his debut as a replacement against rival club Manchester United, Ljungberg showed himself without difficulties and scored on his debut on September 20th. The match ended 3–0. In his first season (1999-2000), Ljungberg made 21 appearances in all competitions, including 43 in his second (1999-2000). He missed the 2000 UEFA Cup Final due to a rib injury. Arsenal defeated Arsenal 2000–01 in their third season, 2001 FA Cup Final. Arsenal scored to put Arsenal up, but Liverpool won 2-1 after two late goals. Ljungberg was the first player to score a goal at an FA Cup final outside of England, with the match being the first final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Some of Ljungberg's finest form came in the second half of the 2001–02 season, when Arsenal secured their second Premier League and FA Cup double. Ljungberg scored in most of Arsenal's remaining games, including a spectacular finish for Arsenal's second goal in the 2–0 FA Cup Final win over Chelsea after a knee injury to Robert Pires. Throughout the season, Ljungberg had scored many important and crucial goals for Arsenal. In a game where Arsenal advanced to victory 3–1, he scored an equalizer against Manchester United. He was instrumental in Arsenal's 2–1 victory over Liverpool in Anfield, where he won a penalty that Thierry Henry scored and then slotted in a sweet finish from a Pires cross. He scored a nearly identical goal against Liverpool at Highbury three weeks later, when the match came to a 1-1 draw. In all competitions, Ljungberg scored 17 goals in 2001-2002. He was the first player to score in consecutive FA Cup Finals in 2002.
Ljungberg helped Arsenal reach their third consecutive FA Cup final in the 2002–03 season. In the semi-final against Sheffield United, he scored the winning goal and then proceeded to the final as Arsenal defeated Southampton. It was Ljungberg's blocked shot that prompted Robert Pires to score the winning goal. In a 4-0 victory over Sunderland, Ljungberg notched his first hat-trick for Arsenal this season.
During Arsenal's undefeated Invincibles season, Ljungberg made 30 league appearances between 2003 and 2004. He scored the winning goal against Tottenham Hotspur at Highbury earlier this year. Ljungberg's fourth FA Cup final appearance (2004–05) was his fourth appearance as a replacement and scored one of Arsenal's goals in the shootout as they defeated Manchester United's victory.
He was most effective as a winger on either side of midfield, but he could also play centrally in a 4–5–1 formation or even as a second striker. Following the departure of Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars in the summer of 2000, Ljungberg became a regular in Arsenal's starting lineup. He was a member of Arsenal's undefeated 49-game run for many seasons, as well as being an important role. He had to deal with regular injury pains and occasional bouts of migraines; in 2005, a persistent hip injury fueled concerns that he had contracted cancer. It turned out that he was poisoned by his large tattoos.
Despite a persistent ankle injury, Ljungberg played for Arsenal in the Champions League Final in Paris on May 17, 2006.
Ljungberg was speculated to leave Arsenal in January 2007, after bosses became bored with a string of injuries that had restricted his play. Arsène Wenger said on January 13, 2007 at a Blackburn Rovers pre-match press conference, remarking that Ljungberg has a lot to offer to Arsenal.
Ljungberg recovered after suffering a long absence in an FA Cup match against Bolton Wanderers, scoring a goal thirteen minutes before the end of extra time, giving Arsenal a spot in the FA Cup's fifth round tie against Blackburn Rovers. Ljungberg suffered with an injury in the first half of a game against Tottenham Hotspur on April 21, 2007, and it was his last game for the club.
Ljungberg finished eleventh in Arsenal.com's Greatest 50 Players poll in 2008.
After nine years with Arsenal, Ljungberg joined West Ham United in London on a four-year deal on July 23, 2007. In West Ham's 2–0 home loss to Manchester City on August 11, the captain made his West Ham debut on the first day of the 2007–08 season. Ljungberg scored his first goal for West Ham in the home match against Birmingham City on February 9, 2008, putting the club up 1–1. In a 2–1 loss to Sunderland a month later, Ljungberg scored what turned out to be his last goal for the club.
Steven Taylor, a Newcastle United defender, mistakenly landed on top of him while trying to jump over him, breaking his ribs. Ljungberg was out of work for the remainder of the season due to injuries. According to Ljungberg's account, he was offered £3 million to end his employment in May. Both Ljungberg's agents, Claes Elefalk and Scott Duxbury, West Ham's chief executive, had to explain this right away.
In June 2008, Ljungberg departed from Sweden's national team, saying, "I have decided to concentrate on my football with West Ham." "My highest priority now is in this area."
Ljungberg was nowhere to be seen at the start of training camp. Despite Elefalk's assertion that Ljungberg would return, many speculated that a transfer was in the works. Ljungberg decided to resign his employment just days after the four-year contract was signed for a sum of £6 million. Afterward, Ljungberg said, "I gave my best at West Ham and loved my time there, but the decision was the right one for the both of us." Now, I will take my time to consider my football future."
Fans and sport pundits alike speculated about Ljungberg's future after Ljungberg's departure from West Ham. Ljungberg was seen in Los Angeles on August 8th, fuelling rumors of a move to LA Galaxy that was quickly dismissed. Ljungberg went to Los Angeles to get a tattoo done by Mister Cartoon, a well-known tattoo artist. Elefalk, a Los Angeles producer and majority owner in the Seattle Sounders FC, begged Ljungberg to visit with Joe Roth, a Hollywood producer and majority stakeholder in the Major League Soccer expansion team. Ljungberg secretly visited Roth but did not want to make any rash decisions. At the same time, there were rumors that four Italian clubs were interested in Ljungberg, including Lazio, Milan, Roma, and Fiorentina. Ljungberg was formally linked to Portsmouth by the end of August. Ljungberg's agent told the Swedish media on August 28 that he was still training at his old football team Halmstads BK, but was uncertain about his future. Ljungberg was referred to AS Monaco at the end of the transfer window. Many believed Ljungberg had been done with football when he left Monaco after the transfer window closed.
During New York Fashion Week's early September, Ljungberg was seen in New York City during New York Fashion Week. Ljungberg had intended to become a furniture designer at this point, according to the Daily Star. Ljungberg was seen in London with Natalie Imbruglia shortly after.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer announced that Ljungberg may be a member of the Seattle Sounders, the newest Major League Soccer franchise. The Seattle Sounders announced on October 28th, 2008, that they had signed Ljungberg as their designated player for the 2009 season. Ljungberg made $10 million during his two seasons with the Sounders, thanks to his contract. Ljungberg's deal stated that he kept all of the funds earned from his private endorsements, much like David Beckham's contract and as is the norm for professional sports stars in the United States. Grahame L. Jones of the Los Angeles Times was prompt to compare Ljungberg to Beckham due to this. "I believe Eddie Vedder will have a greater chance of causing more remark at Seattle than Freddie Ljungberg," Alexi Lalas said. However, the Lalas' initial skepticism about the 2009 regular season had acknowledged their initial skepticism but later confessed to having changed his mind. "He's the best DP signing for me because of the way he plays in MLS."
Ljungberg would have surgery to fix a persistent hip injury that has plagued him through his life, as reported in December 2008. Surgeons repaired a barely broken hip labrum and shaved a small amount of bone where the hip meets the femur to prevent future injury. According to the Seattle Times, Ljungberg was supposed to miss ten to twelve weeks of preparation and possibly be sidelined for the team's inaugural game, but he recovered from his hip injury sooner than expected. Despite the fact that Ljungberg did not participate in Seattle's preseason in Argentina, he did nevertheless do light training with IS Halmia.
Ljungberg joined the Sounders in Seattle when the Sounders returned to Seattle. Despite his quick recovery, Ljungberg did not appear in the inaugural game against the New York Red Bulls. In a 2–0 win over Real Salt Lake, he made his debut on a week later on March 28, 2009, as a 61st-minute substitute. He made his first appearance against Toronto FC on April 4, 2009, where he also scored his first MLS goal. In Los Angeles, Ljungberg played his first full game against Chivas USA, who lost 2–0. Although some expressed disappointment that Fredy Montero and Ljungberg's absence in the preseason and few workouts with one another, coach Sigi Schmid answered, "That's just something that takes some time." But they're both good players and it will be sorted out sooner rather than later, so I believe it will be sorted out sooner rather than later."
Due to a migraine attack, Ljungberg missed two games against FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids. He recovered quickly against Chivas USA. The Sounders drew their fifth match in a row on Sunday, this time against the Columbus Crew after Ljungberg missed a penalty kick in the 31st minute. On June 13, 2009, Ljungberg scored his second goal of the season against the San Jose Earthquakes, lifting it over him and into the center of the net. Montero's goal gave the Sounders a 2–0 victory in the 59th minute. Ljungberg suffered from some hamstring tightness while playing D.C. United. Ljungberg did suit up for the New York Red Bulls game on June 20, 2009, but he did not play due to the injury. Ljungberg scored Montero's 23rd-minute goal against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. He was forced to leave early in the game, during which he received a standing ovation. During the four-week holiday in July, Ljungberg skipped out for the US Open Cup game against the Portland Timbers from the United StatesL and concentrated on preparation. Seattle defeated Houston Dynamo on a short holiday break, where Ljungberg was largely wounded and fouled. Despite this, Ljungberg defeated his opponents and scored a goal to Patrick Ianni. The Bleacher Report referred to him as the man of the match.
During his 2009 season, Ljungberg's rumors that he was going to return to a European club were debunked, but Ljungberg promised fans that he would keep his two-year contract. The Swede also confirmed that his deal will not extend beyond 2010.
Ljungberg, along with teammate Kasey Keller, was selected to start MLS' All-Stars in July 2009. The All-Star team's selection is based on votes from players, coaches, general managers, supporters of the media, and an online fan voting system. Fans voted for Ljungberg, a nodo to his ubiquity in the MLS, a testament to his ubiquity in the sport. In their 2009 MLS All-Star Team's match against Everton, Ljungberg was also named captain.
Ljungberg was ineligible to play in the new Seattle Sounders game due to receiving a red card in the previous game. Dominic Kinnear, the All-Star coach, played Ljungberg for the full 90 minutes as a result. Ljungberg started to have blurred vision at the end of the game. After an on-set migraine, he decided to leave the game out due to his vision loss. The initial five kicks ended in a draw, unfortunately for Ljungberg. Kinnear, who has troubled Ljungberg's health, kicked him out as the sixth kicker. Ljungberg, who was unable to see, took a chance and simply tapped the ball in the center of the net. However, Tim Howard saved it, resulting in Everton's victory. Ljungberg was carted from the field on a stretcher right after the game. Later in Utah, Ljungberg told reporters that he consumed a trace amount of red wine, resulting in his second migraine within months.
In September of that year, Ljungberg defeated the Seattle Sounders in the U.S. Open Cup of 2009.
On July 30, 2010, Ljungberg was traded to Chicago Fire in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. In the club's 3–2 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy the following Sunday, he made his team debut as a replacement. In a match that featured five named players, Ljungberg's first appearance for the Fire came against the New York Red Bulls. After 15 appearances in the league, Ljungberg revealed that he would leave Chicago Fire at the end of the 2010 season.
On a weeklong trial, Ljungberg joined Celtic in the Scottish Premier League on December 27, 2010. Ljungberg officially signed a deal with the club on December 30, 2010 following a fruitful hearing. On January 9, 2011, Ljungberg made his Celtic debut against Berwick Rangers in the Scottish Cup, playing over 60 minutes and assisting his team in a 2–0 victory.
Ljungberg joined Japanese company Shimizu S-Pulse on September 6, 2011. He left the club by mutual consent on February 14, 2012.
Ljungberg was linked to Australian club Central Coast Mariners and the Orlando Pirates' South African team after his release. In the meantime, he became a Premier League ambassador, which was promoted in the league. He has also participated in charitable activities, including Soccer Aid 2012 and McDonald's Player Escort Program in Kyiv.
Ljungberg announced his retirement from football on August 24th, 2012.
Ljungberg made a comeback to promote the launch of the Indian Super League on July 25th, 2014. He was signed by Mumbai City on September 2nd, making the Mumbai City's marquee signing. He missed out on the league's first match, a 3–0 loss at Atlético de Kolkata on October 12 due to injury. Due to persistent back pains, Ljungberg's recovery was postponed. After only four games played, he decided to end his career and return to his hometown in London.
In 1996, Ljungberg made his Swedish national under-21 team debut. Because Sweden head coach Lars Lagerbäck thought Ljungberg was too short, he almost did not make it as an international player. "Of course it's difficult to say from 15 to 16 years of age" (whether or not a player has the potential to be a professional athlete), Lagerbäck said in the 2003 documentary film Fredrik Ljungberg: Up Close and Personal. To be honest, I wouldn't say I thought he'd be a good actor because he was so young. We played Denmark in his first game, and he scored twice, so we quickly realized that he was a good player even though he was tiny but quick." In a game against Scotland U21 on November 10, 1996, Ljungberg scored twice.
Ljungberg made his international debut in 1998 against the United States in Orlando, losing 0–1. In Malmö, he scored his first national team goal against Denmark, a 3–0 win.
Before Sweden was barred from the tournament after the group stage, Ljungberg was a squad member for Sweden's Euro 2000 and played in all three group stage games against Belgium, Turkey, and Italy.
Following a strong tackle from the former, Ljungberg burst into a brawl at an open team practice before the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Ljungberg screamed Mellberg right in front of the international press, and Mellberg responded by grabbing at Ljungberg's jersey top at throat level before the two grappled on the ground. The two of them were quickly dismissed by colleagues who were stunned, and the team's practice was immediately suspended due to the public relations disaster. Within hours, a video clip of the war flooded social media and internet.
Sweden was a member of Group F, also known as the 'Group of Death,' which included Argentina, England, and Nigeria. Ljungberg was suffering from a hip injury that prevented him from participating in the majority of the games at the time. Despite the agony, Ljungberg didn't have the courage to play against England and Nigeria on June 2nd, 2002 and January 7th, 2002. Senegal defeated Sweden after Sweden recovered from group death.
Sweden was one of the 16 teams qualifying for UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal, with Sweden being one of the 16 teams to qualify. Ljungberg scored the first goal in Sweden's first game on June 14th as Sweden defeated Bulgaria 5–0. He began his two matches against Italy and Denmark, which ended in draws. Sweden, Italy, and Denmark were in a three-way tie for first place. After Sweden and Denmark drew 2–2, it was decided that Italy would not advance due to a goal difference. Both Sweden and Denmark arranged the match, according to Italy, who denied it. The United Europe Football Association was spooled by this belief, and Sweden advanced to the next round to face the Netherlands. The match ended with a 0–0 draw in which Ljungberg fired two shots but failed to score.
Magnus Forssblad, the team's medical doctor, barred Ljungberg from participating in full-blown training between matches to protect his injured foot. Fluid buildup inside his ankle joint had his right foot swollen. At Sweden's base in Bremen, Ljungberg watched the warm-up games against Finland and Chile. Despite being advised to take time off, Ljungberg kept on playing in the tournament to help Sweden beat Sweden.
After Sweden's victory over Paraguay in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, they were quickly dismissed. However, Paraguay was close to ending the game with a scoreless tie until Ljungberg scored in the 89th minute, giving Sweden a 1–0 victory. Sweden's third match within the group was against England, resulting in a 2–2 draw. Despite the draw, Sweden advanced to the next round but only to lose 0–2 against host country Germany. Ljungberg received the Guldbollen award for helping Sweden advance to the next round of the World Cup by playing in the game-winning goal against Paraguay: "I am proud and humble to receive this award," Ljungberg said. "If you look at the football year 2006, it was very exciting." ... The Champions League final left some long marks if I should try to sum it up. That was difficult. But for me, the World Cup was the year's biggest event.
Ljungberg was named Sweden's captain after the 2006 World Cup. In eight of the nine UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers, including games against Latvia, Liechtenstein, Spain, Northern Ireland, and Iceland, he captained the team. Ljungberg scored one goal against Liechtenstein in the qualifiers on October 17 and had an assist in the Latvia match four days later. Sweden won with six victories in the European Championships.
Ljungberg fractured his ribs prior to UEFA Euro 2008, making his participation in the tournament uncertain. However, Ljungberg was able to participate in the Euro and watched the games with a special brace to shield his healing ribs. Ljungberg was able to get off to a 2–0 win in Sweden's first match against Greece. Sweden's next match was against Spain, one of the favorites. Sweden was able to stop Spain from making major strides. However, Sweden lost the match 1–2.
Sweden was unable to compete with the youthful Russia squad, and was defeated 0–2. Despite Sweden's early departure from the tournament, Ljungberg was regarded as Sweden's top player throughout the tournament by newspapers in Sweden, France, Italy, Germany, and host country Austria.
Ljungberg revealed on June 27th that he was halting his ten-year service for the Swedish national team. Following Sweden's early withdrawal from UEFA Euro 2008, the decision was taken. Ljungberg scored 14 goals in his 75 caps for Sweden.
Arsenal revealed in May that Ljungberg will be "renewing his links with the club" by playing an ambassador for the club in the hopes of raising the club's foreign recognition. He said he was "honoured to serve as this ambassador" for the first time.
Arsenal Academy had announced that he would be coaching Arsenal's under-15s on July 12, 2016.
Following Andries Jonker's appointment as the club's new boss, VfL Wolfsburg's 27th February 2017, the club revealed later that Ljungberg and Uwe Speidel would assist him. He was with the club for six months before Jonker and his assistants were fired in September 2017.
Arsenal revealed on June 12th that Ljungberg would return as the under-23 coach. Ljungberg was promoted to Arsenal's first-team coaching staff on June 5, 2019. Following Unai Emery's dismissal, Ljungberg was appointed interim head coach on November 29, 2019.
He said he was playing on a game-by-game basis in December 2019. On December 1, the interim head-coach's match in Norwich City ended in a 2-2 draw, and he won his first and only match as interim head coach, defeating West Ham United 3-1 eight days later. After Mikel Arteta's appointment as team head coach, Ljungberg was retained as the first-team assistant coach after a string of one win, three draws, and two losses as interim head coach. Ljungberg, a football assistant, announced his departure from his first team assistant coaching position at Arsenal in August 22nd to continue his leadership studies and explore new opportunities.