Former Arsenal and Sweden Star Freddie Ljungberg Retires

Manny Otiko@@mannyotiko Contributor IIIAugust 25, 2012

LONDON - FEBRUARY 11:  Freddie Ljungberg of Arsenal during the Barclays Premiership match between Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers at Highbury on February 11, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

On Friday, Former Arsenal winger Freddie Ljungberg announced his retirement from professional football to Swedish television via his press advisor (h/t The New York Times).

Ljungberg rose to fame as a member of the successful Arsenal team of the late 1990s and 2000s. He will always be remembered as a member of the Invincibles, who went unbeaten during the 2003-04 season.

Ljungberg dominated on the right wing and eventually took over from long-serving Gunner Ray Parlour. He eventually played 328 games for the Gunners, scoring 72 goals. He won Premiership, FA Cup and Community Shield honors at Arsenal. Ljungberg was a popular figure with Arsenal fans because of his rock star image, which included spiky hair and tattoos.

Ljungberg joined the Gunners in 1998 from Halmstads BK for a then-Swedish record £3 million. He was at Highbury for nine years, before persistent injuries lead Coach Arsene Wenger to trade him to London rivals West Ham.

He was one of the first EPL stars to recognize the value of MLS and joined Seattle Sounders in 2009. Ljungberg later played for Chicago Fire and Celtic before he joined his last club, Shimizu S-Pulse of Japan.

Ljungberg also starred for the Swedish national team for 10 years and served as captain. He appeared for Sweden in the World Cup and Euro Championship tournaments.

He was also famous for his off-field pursuits where his six-pack abs and chiseled good looks won commercial deals with L'Oreal and Calvin Klein.

He also won numerous personal honors, including being nominated for the World's Sexiest Man award in 2008 and winning the MLS Newcomer of the Year award in 2009.  Arsenal's website currently lists Ljungberg as the Gunners' 11th-greatest player. 

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