Olof Mellberg: Players I remember #2

Olof Mellberg announced his retirement from football the other day. The former Aston Villa and Swedish international captain is – for me and most others – the best central defender Sweden has had since Patrik Andersson retired.

olof_mellbergOlof Mellberg is a true professional. His will to win is widely known, and the Swedish media following the national team have reported numerously about a furious Mellberg after losing in football tennis. He read the game well, was reasonably fast, was good in the air, and always performed on a high level.

My memories from Mellberg’s career are many. I remember the growth of his beard (I have seen him doing interviews cleanly shaved one day and with a decent beard the next), how he walked away like nothing had happened from pitch riots in Olympiakos, his goals against England in Euro 2012, his fury against referees, his partnership with Martin Laursen in Aston Villa, signing for Italian giants Juventus, being part in the marvellous World Cup 2006 game against Paraguay in Berlin (I was there), and that he was only decent as a right back but world class in the centre of the defence. Birmingham Mail has listed five reasons why Aston Villa fans will always love Olof Mellberg.

Then, there is of course the fight (which I don’t think was much to report about, but Swedish media certainly did) with Fredrik ’Freddie’ Ljungberg.

Olof Mellberg started his career in his home town club Gullspång, but was soon pick up by Degerfors, the big club in the region. He then moved to AIK and after only ten months, including a Swedish championship, he was sold to Racing Santander in 1998.

Mellberg did well in Spain and rumours that bigger clubs followed him started. In 2001 he joined Aston Villa, where he almost became a cult hero. After 232 league games and 8 goals, including the first ever goal at Emirates Stadium, he decided to move to Juventus in 2008. He got 27 games in Italy, but decided to move on to Olympiakos after only one season. He played in Greece for three seasons and then ended his career by helping Villarreal reach promotion to La Liga and finally moving to Danish giants FC Copenhagen for his last season in his career.

So what will Mellberg do now? It seems like he will not be involved in football for some time. Perhaps he starts studying at the University?

I plan to regularly write about my former heroes. For the blog posts so far, see here. Olof Mellberg is the second player I have written about.

Darlington, Sweden, and Djurgården won! Will LIF win?

amar purewalIt has been a great start of the weekend for ’my’ teams overall.

Darlington were 0-2 down at half time against Clitheroe but turned around to a 3-2 win after two late goals from Amar Purewal. Darlington now have four wins in five games and things look good in the Evo-Stik First Division North. Amar Purewal has a good goal scoring record for Darlington and I would love if he will stay and help them to move up to Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Darlington now have two straight home games at Heritage Park in Bishop Auckland (against teams in the lower half of the table). With two wins in these games Quakers have put themselves in a very good position for the rest of the season.


Sweden got a very important win in Ireland (2-1) after goals from Johan Elmander and Anders Svensson. It was a rather crappy game in my opinion, with way too many unforced errors from the Swedish players. mikael lustigHowever, I think Sweden were much better than Ireland and got a deserved victory. However, they really need to decrease the number of missed passes. Mikael Lustig had a few, but also other players had some horrendous misses. An interesting fact is that full back Lustig has been involved in six of twelve goals so far for Sweden in the qualification.

Next Sweden travel to Kazakhstan and a victory is of course a must. In that case they have a great chance to take the second position in the group and getting a chance to qualify to the World Cup in Rio.

Lustig seems to have injury problems and I guess that he won’t start against Kazakhstan. I would play with Andreas Granqvist since I do not believe that Adam Johansson have the quality to start for Sweden. Johansson is a decent defender, but his season so far has been far from great. Granqvist is a defender with attacking qualities and I think he will do well as a full back. Moreover I would like to see Kim Källström back in the starting eleven. I guess I am the only Swede that thinks Kim should start, but I believe that he still is an excellent player and I think we need his offensive qualities against Kazakhstan.


Djurgården’s ice hockey team has done well in European Trophy and won against Brynäs yesterday.  I hope that this will be the season when Djurgården get things together again and qualify for the top division in 2014-2015.

ljungby if—–

Today Ljungby IF have an important game away to BW90. LIF’s form is awful and I really hope that they turn around their loosing trend today.