5 things you might not know about interim Arsenal boss Freddie Ljungberg

Freddie Ljungberg has been appointed as Arsenal’s interim head coach following the sacking of Unai Emery.

The 42-year-old made 325 appearances for the Gunners and managed their Under-23 side before becoming Emery’s assistant earlier this year.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some facts you may not know about the new Arsenal boss.

Brief Encounter

Ljungberg modelled underwear for Calvin Klein
Ljungberg modelled underwear for Calvin Klein. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

During his time as a player at Arsenal, Ljungberg’s extra-curricular activities including landing a contract to model Calvin Klein underwear.

He starred alongside Russian model Natalia Vodianova in 2006 after David Beckham had reportedly turned down the opportunity.

Ljungberg became the face of the campaign in both Britain and the United States and he later said his short-lived modelling career led to women routinely fondling him in nightclubs.

Hand over foot

Ljungberg joined Celtic towards the end of his football career - but he could have taken up professional handball as a child instead.
Ljungberg joined Celtic towards the end of his football career – but he could have taken up professional handball as a child instead. (Andrew Milligan/PA)

It could have been an entirely different career for Ljungberg had he opted to take a route into another sport where he flourished – handball.

Along with football and ice hockey, Ljungberg highlighted his early success in the handball arena as somewhere he could have shone.

He was called up into the Swedish national side at Under-15 level but had to make a decision between handball and football and settled for the latter.

North London is wed

Ljungberg married Natalie Foster at London's Natural HIstory Museum.
Ljungberg married Natalie Foster at London’s Natural History Museum. (Johnny Green/PA)

Ljungberg married his long-term partner Natalie Foster at London’s Natural History Museum in 2014.

The pair tied the knot at the iconic location in front of some of Ljungberg’s former team-mates.

The fact Natalie is a Tottenham supporter may have caused some issues over the years, however.

Final score

Ljungberg scored in the FA Cup final for a second year in a row as Arsenal beat Chelsea in 2002.
Ljungberg scored in the FA Cup final for a second year in a row as Arsenal beat Chelsea in 2002. (Rui Vieira/PA)

In 2002, Ljungberg scored in a second FA Cup final in a row as he helped Arsenal to a 2-0 victory over Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium.

A year earlier he struck the opening goal in the final against Liverpool, only for Michael Owen’s late double to seal victory for Gerard Houllier’s side.

But Ljungberg’s feat saw him become the first man since Tottenham’s Bobby Smith 40 years earlier to find the back of the net in consecutive finals.

The golden boy

Ljungberg won Sweden's player of the year award in 2006 before compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic (second left) took the gong for the next decade.
Ljungberg won Sweden’s player of the year award in 2006 before compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic, second left, took the gong for the next decade. (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ljungberg was twice bestowed with the honour of Sweden’s Guldbollen – or ‘golden ball’ – for being the best Swedish male player in a calendar year.

He was named as the winner in 2002 and 2006 and was the last man to be given the award before Zlatan Ibrahimovic collected the gong 10 years in a row.

Other players to win the award while playing in England include fellow former Gunner Anders Limpar as well as Stefan Schwarz, Magnus Hedman and Olaf Mellberg while Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof has earned the trophy for the past two years.

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