Sweden & Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg joins Mumbai City
Mumbai City FC today announced the signing of the outstanding Freddie Ljungberg as its marquee player for the inaugural season of the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL). Karl Fredrik Ljungberg, better known as Freddie Ljungberg, is a former Swedish national team captain and a midfielder who has been a critical part of football clubs such as Arsenal, West Ham United and Halmstads BK. His presence at Mumbai City FC will ensure the team has a strong midfield with Ljungberg comfortable playing on either wing.
Ljungberg is recognized the world over for his skill and contribution to the sport when he was part of Arsenal’s feared line-up in the early part of this millennium. For several seasons, he played a major role for the club including being part of the unbeaten 49-game run for the team. In 2008, Arsenal's manager Arsène Wenger placed Ljungberg 11th in the Gunners' Greatest 50 Players. For his home country of Sweden, Ljungberg has earned 75 caps, scoring 14 times.
Speaking about the signing, team owner Ranbir Kapoor said, “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 make Mumbai proud in the coming season.”
After joining Mumbai City, Freddie 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.”
Ever since the Vittsjö-born talent started playing football, he was regarded as someone who was remarkably capable for his age. At the age of 12, Ljungberg convinced Halmstads BK to move him from p12 to p14, which was against Halmstad's policies at the time.
At age 14, he joined the junior team under coach Robert Nordström. His perseverance paid off because three years later he was moved up to the senior team where he made his senior debut on October 23, 1994 in the Allsvenskan against AIK. In 1995, Ljungberg played 31 games and he scored his first goal as a professional player. That same year Halmstad won the Swedish Cup.
Ljungberg was signed by Arsenal in 1998 for £3 million, which at the time was the highest transfer fee ever for a Swedish player. Arsenal scouts watched him for over a year and Wenger took the unusual step of authorizing the signing after watching Ljungberg play for Sweden in their victory against England on television, without seeing him play live.
Ljungberg proved himself without difficulty and scored on his debut after coming on as a substitute against rivals Manchester United, the match ending 3–0. Some of Ljungberg's best games came in the second half of the 2001–02 season, when Arsenal won their second Premier League and FA Cup double.
Ljungberg became a regular in Arsenal's starting line-up following the departure of Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars in the summer of 2000. For several seasons he played a major role for the club including being a member of the unbeaten 49-game run team for Arsenal.
After nine years at Arsenal FC, Ljungberg went on to play for West Ham United, Seattle Sounders FC, Chicago Fire, Celtic Glasgow and Shimizu S-Pulse.
Mumbai City FC welcomes Freddie Ljungberg to its fold and his addition strengthens the football club further, ahead of its inaugural ISL season.