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Karl Fredrik "Freddie" Ljungberg (born April 16, 1977, Vittsjö, Sweden) is a Swedish international football player playing for FA Premier League side Arsenal and sometime underwear model for Calvin Klein.

He has also played handball, ice hockey and golf. He currently resides in Hampstead, London, and in Halmstad when in Sweden.

Ljungberg joined Arsenal in 1998. He previously played for Halmstads BK in Sweden, where he made 139 appearances and scored 16 goals. He goalscoring rate has improved significantly after joining Arsenal. Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, took the unusual step of authorising the signing of Ljungberg after watching him play for Sweden in their defeat of England on television, without making a personal scouting trip. It seemed a strange way to complete business, but he was hearing good things about the Swedish midfielder; Wenger was believed to be just waiting to see how he would cope against English opponents. Ljungberg passed the test without difficulty and made a sensational debut scoring against Manchester United (Arsenal's main rivals for the Premiership title), coming on the field as a substitute.

Many consider his "purple patch" of form towards the end of the 2001-2002 season crucial to Arsenal's Premiership and FA Cup double; Robert Pirès had recently been ruled out for months through a knee injury. Ljungberg came in and scored in most of Arsenal's remaining games, including a stunning finish in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

He is most comfortable in midfield; since the departure of Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars, Ljungberg has been a regular in Arsenal's starting lineup and has cemented his first team place. He has had to fight with constant injury problems and occasionally severe bouts with migraines; in 2005 a mysterious persistent hip injury led to fears he may have contracted cancer, which were thankfully unfounded.

For Sweden, Ljungberg played at Euro 2000, the 2002 World Cup, and Euro 2004. He has appeared over 50 times for his country, scoring 8 goals.

As of October 22, 2005, Ljungberg has played 179 Premiership games for Arsenal, scoring 45 goals and making 24 assists. In the Champions League, he has played 48 games and scored 13 goals. He is currently the longest serving player in Arsenal, apart from Highbury legend Dennis Bergkamp.

 

Awards

  • 1998 Swedish FA prizes for "Best Midfielder of the year"
  • 1998 Swedish FA prizes for "People's player of the year"
  • 1998 Nominated for the Sexiest Men In The World
  • 1998 6th in the Swedish handsome men contest
  • 2000 Arsenal FC player Of The Month (January and February)
  • 2000 Arsenal FC Dreamcast Player Of The Season competition came 2nd
  • 2000 AFCi Awards "Most Improved Arsenal Player" for the 1999-2000 season
  • 2000 2nd in AFCi Awards "Arsenal Player Of The Season"
  • 2002 Guldbollen

 

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