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Guest Article – 5 World Class Swedes Who Played Before Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Time for another guest article of now as new transfer window signing Anthony Umoh takes a look at a legendary quintet of Swedish players that does not involve Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Thanks for getting involved Anthony, the floor is now all yours. Take it away.

Who is the best Swedish player right now? Many would say, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, despite the fact he retired for the Swedish national team. Ibrahimovic is a world-class striker who is known for his excellent technical ability, brilliant physical ability and his ability to do the talking both on and off the pitch. He has an infectious personality; whether you love him or hate him, you can’t knock his supreme confidence which has helped him over the years.

Zlatan has played for quite a few big clubs, which include the likes of Manchester United, PSG, Inter Milan, Juventus, A.C Milan, Barcelona and Ajax. He has achieved a great deal in his career, winning the league title in four different countries. For the Swedish national team, he was able to win 116 caps and score a record 62 goals, and become the nation’s all-time leading goalscoring.

But this article isn’t about Zlatan. It’s about the Swedish stars who played before him. Honourable mentions go to Thomas Ravelli and Bo Larsson.

Nils Ledholm

Nils Ledholm was an excellent midfielder, and he could play deeper or in an advanced role. He was able to pick out a pass, his intelligence and he had terrific fitness which he practised after training. He was a remarkably composed player, and this allowed him to play multiple of games without getting booked. He aimed to try to go for the ball instead of the man; this was impressive when you consider the amount foul play at the time.

In fact, he practised other sports as well, and they included Long jump, Javelin and Shot putt and this was the reason why he still played at a high level and retired at the age of 40.

He was played for the likes of IFK Norrkoping and A.C Milan, winning the Swedish title in 1947 and 1948. When playing for A.C Milan, he was able to win the Serie A in 1951, 1955, 1957 and 1957. For Sweden, he was part of the Swedish side that won the Olympics in 1948, and he was part of Sweden squad that reached the world cup final in 1958.

Henrik Larsson

Henrik Larsson was a world class player, who played as a striker and he was known for his goalscoring instincts and his ability to read the game which helped him score most of his goals. During his career, he was able to play for the likes of Feyenoord, Celtic, Manchester United and F.C Barcelona.He managed to win league titles in Spain, England, and Scotland.

To reinforce his goal-scoring skills, he made his most significant impact at Celtic scoring an incredible 242 goals in 313 games. When he played for Barcelona and Manchester United, he was known for making an impact off the bench. An Example is when Barcelona played Arsenal in the Champions League final of 2006, he came off the bench and provided two assists which led to Barcelona coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1.

For Sweden, he won 106 caps scoring 37 goals, and he was part of the Swedish Squad that got to third place in the 1994 World cup. In Euro 2004 he took Sweden to the quarter-finals being able to score three goals in the process and was included in the team of the tournament.

Henrik was able to win lots of individual awards, for example, he won the Golden boot in 2001. He has the record of scoring the most goals in the UEFA Europa League with a total of 40. He has also won the UEFA Golden player in 2003 for being Sweden’s best player for the last fifty years.

Kurt Hamrin

Kurt Hamrin is another world-class player who played in the 1950’s. He played as a winger, and he was able to bring many qualities like being fast, a creative passer, two-footed and a prolific goal scorer.

Kurt Hamrin utilised his skills to replace Julio Botethlo who was a fan favourite and a highly skilled individual. The Italian leagues have always been known for there tactical knowledge and their defence and for Kurt to be Fiorentina’s top goalscorer shows his brilliant goalscoring skills as he finished with 208 goals.

Kurt spent many of his years in playing for the likes of Juventus and Fiorentina where he won the UEFA cup winners cup in 1961. However, A.C Milan is where he obtained the most success winning Serie A, UEFA Cup winners cup in 1968 and the European Cup in 1969. For Sweden, he was part of the team that reached the world cup final in 1958.

Freddie Ljungberg

Freddie Ljungberg was a fantastic player who played as a winger as he was known for his dribbling skills as well as his passing and his speed. He was able to play for the likes of Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic. He won the F.A Cup three times with Arsenal in 2002,2003 and 2005, and he won the Premier League in 2002 and 2004, he also was able to win the Swedish title in 1997 with Halmstad.

Freddie Ljungberg could score crucial goals and provide for the team when needed. Examples include when he scored the second in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, and despite losing the FA Cup in 2001 to Liverpool, he was able to score the first goal of the final.

For Sweden, he has won 75 caps for his country scoring 14 goals, and he was able to play in the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 in which he captained that Swedish side.

Gunnar Nordahl

Gunnar Nordahl was a legendary swedish striker who played for ac milan in his peak years, He was known for his incredible physicality which was able to hold off defenders and he had exceptional finishing skills. He was one of the greatest players in his generation. For sweden he was able score an amazing forty three goals in thirty three games and he was able to win the an olympic gold medal in 1948.

Five very talented players but at the end of the day there is only one Zlatan

If you would like to get involved as a guest writer in 2018 then please get in touch with me via email at realfootballmanwordpress@gmail.com and we can have you signed up as a member of the squad. Thanks, Dan.

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