Mumbai City land ‘Invincible’ Freddie Ljungberg

Freddie Ljungberg

Sweden and Arsenal star Karl Fredrik Ljungberg, better known as ‘Freddie’, was confirmed today as Mumbai City FC’s marquee signing for the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL). He is the sixth marquee player to be announced for the ISL.

While best known for his time at Arsenal, Ljungberg was already a highly-touted player when he arrived in North London, having won the Allsvenskan – the Swedish top flight – with boyhood club Halmstad. He moved to Arsenal after the ‘Gunners’ paid what at the time was the highest transfer fee ever paid for a Swedish player.

Ljungberg, who can play on either wing, made a total of 216 appearances for the London club, scoring 72 times while becoming a fan favourite for his dazzling playmaking ability down the flanks. During his nine years with Arsenal, Ljungberg won the FA Cup three times and the Premier League twice, most notably in 2003-04 when he was part of a star-studded Arsenal squad, subsequently dubbed ‘The Invincibles’, which went the entire 38-game league season undefeated. He has also played for West Ham United, Celtic, Major League Soccer sides Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire and Japanese club Shimuzu S-Pulse.

The winger was also a key figure in the Swedish national team, earning 71 senior caps. At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he helped Sweden win its group despite being placed in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside England, Argentina and Nigeria. He played similarly crucial roles in the 2004 and 2008 UEFA Euro campaigns (captaining the side in 2008), as well as the 2006 World Cup. Ljungberg was named Sweden’s ‘footballer of the year’ in both the World Cup years (2002 and 2006). He was also recognized as one of Sweden’s best playmakers over his ten-year international career, and scored 14 goals for the national team.

The arrival of a player of Ljungberg’s calibre further bolsters a Mumbai City FC squad which had previously signed veteran German defender Manuel Friedrich, and earlier this week announced the signing of star French striker Nicolas Anelka. The Swede is delighted to have joined the Mumbai club, and is excited to be playing in the ISL. Commenting on the latest step in his football journey, Ljungberg said, “Mumbai City FC presents a thrilling opportunity to play in India and I’m glad to be part of the team in the very first Indian Super League season. Talented Indian players together with the likes of Anelka, Friedrich, Čmovš and others will make the team an exciting outfit and I look forward to contributing to the team’s success.”

Mumbai co-owner Ranbir Kapoor was similarly thrilled by the signing, saying, “Mumbai City FC is immensely proud to sign a player like Freddie Ljungberg today. As a former Sweden captain and Arsenal great, the world football fraternity understands what he is worth and I’m sure Mumbai’s football fans will be delighted with his presence in the team. He will enrich us with his talent and experience and we look forward to seeing him making Mumbai proud in the coming season.”

Ljungberg is capable of not only making Mumbai proud but further thrilling football fans all across the country with his beautiful game.

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