Olof Mellberg
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Olof Mellberg

Olof Mellberg
Olof Mellberg'13.JPG
Mellberg with Copenhagen in 2013
Personal information
Full name Erik Olof Mellberg
Date of birth (1977-09-03) 3 September 1977 (age 43)[1]
Place of birth Gullspång, Sweden
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position(s) Defender
Club information
Current team
Helsingborgs IF (manager)
Youth career
1994-1996 Gullspångs IF
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996-1997 Degerfors IF 47 (0)
1997-1998 AIK 17 (0)
1998-2001 Racing Santander 98 (0)
2001-2008 Aston Villa 232 (8)
2008-2009 Juventus 27 (2)
2009-2012 Olympiacos 71 (7)
2012-2013 Villarreal 29 (2)
2013-2014 Copenhagen 22 (3)
Total 543 (22)
National team
1996-1999 Sweden U21 27 (4)
2000-2012 Sweden 117 (8)
Teams managed
2015-2017 Brommapojkarna
2019 Fremad Amager
2019- Helsingborgs IF
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Erik Olof Mellberg (pronounced ['û:l?f 'ml:bærj]; born 3 September 1977) is a Swedish former professional footballer who serves as manager of Helsingborgs IF.

During his career, Mellberg played as a defender, and is best known for his time at Aston Villa, as well as spells with Juventus and Greek side Olympiacos.

Mellberg played for Sweden in the 2002 World Cup and 2006 World Cup, as well as the Euro 2000, Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. A former captain of the national team, he scored 8 goals in 117 caps, before retiring from the national team following Euro 2012.

Early years

Erik Olof Mellberg was born in Gullspång, Sweden on 3 September 1977 to parents Berit and Erik. Mellberg's mother Berit was a physical education teacher who passed on her love of sport to her son.[2] As a youth, Mellberg enjoyed playing tennis and dreamed of Wimbledon rather than the World Cup. Mellberg was something of a tennis prodigy[3] and it was not until he was 14 that Mellberg began to focus on football.[2]

Club career

Early career

Mellberg played for local side Gullspång before being picked up by then Swedish Premiership side Degerfors IF. After being relegated he joined capital club AIK, where he made an instant impression, became Swedish champion 1998 and was sold after just 10 months. Spanish side Racing Santander moved to secure the promising Swedish centre half, and although having a difficult time adjusting to Spanish football he soon claimed a starting berth and impressed in his first season. Continuing to play well, Mellberg was said to be on his way to several big Spanish sides, including Barcelona and Valencia.

Aston Villa

Playing for Aston Villa.

However, Aston Villa managed to secure his signature and he became a consistent and vital part of the team.[4] Mellberg was left out of boss David O'Leary's first side for a game against Portsmouth, but was soon made the captain of the English giants for the rest of his reign. Mellberg was a vital part of the team that finished 6th in the Premier League and reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in O'Leary's first season. Mellberg resigned as captain following the 2006 World Cup--he was replaced by Gareth Barry. In 2007 the new manager of Aston Villa, Martin O'Neill, continued to consider Mellberg as the first choice centre back. On the opening day of the 2006-07 Premiership season Mellberg became the first person to score in a competitive game at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium. During the 2007-08 season, he played at the right back position following the purchase of Zat Knight, who played alongside Martin Laursen at centre back. Mellberg was sent off against Portsmouth on 15 March 2008 for two bookable offences.

In January 2008 it was announced that Mellberg had signed a pre-contract agreement with Juventus. His final home game for Aston Villa was against Wigan Athletic on 3 May. The game was designated as "Olof Mellberg" day in appreciation of his service to the club. On his final game for Aston Villa away at West Ham United, as a leaving gift, Mellberg gave every single Villa fan at Upton Park either a home or an away shirt with his name and number on the back and the message Thanks 4 Your Support - being the number 4 of Aston Villa.[5] He also said he would frame the kit which he used on his last ever Aston Villa game - the game against West Ham.[5] To this day Mellberg is very highly thought of and respected by Aston Villa supporters as one of their greatest ever players.

Juventus

From right to left: Mellberg, Tiago Mendes and Giorgio Chiellini celebrates for Juventus in 2009

In January 2008 it was confirmed that Mellberg had signed a pre-contract agreement with Italian giants Juventus, allowing him a Bosman move to Serie A on a three-year contract for the start of the 2008-09 season. He made his Juventus debut on 16 July 2008 in a friendly match versus Serie B outfit, Piacenza. Juventus surprisingly lost the match 1-0. On 18 January 2009, Mellberg scored his first goal for Juventus against Lazio in the 30th minute.[6]

Olympiacos

On 23 June 2009, it was confirmed that Mellberg agreed with Olympiacos to sign a three-year contract with the club. Olympiacos paid Juventus EUR2.5 million for the Swede's signature.[7] Despite the rotation of several managers in the club while there, he was always a constant in the central defence and his consistency and experience proved to be invaluable for Olympiakos. Thanks to his passionate play and high professionalism, he has become a fan favourite - to the point that when Olympiakos had a streak of bad games, Mellberg was always the only player who was spared from criticism - and one of the most highly respected players in Greece.

Mellberg turned down a new deal at the end of the 2011-12 season to extend his time in Athens, hoping to find a new challenge with his agent saying, "...we don't close any doors."[8]

Villarreal

On 8 August 2012, Mellberg signed a one-year contract with Spanish club Villarreal.[9] Mellberg appeared 29 times for Villareal in Spanish Segunda División, scoring twice, and was an important part of the squad that finished second in Segunda División and was promoted to La Liga.

FC Copenhagen

On 9 July 2013, Mellberg signed a two-year contract with Danish champions FC Copenhagen, but left after one season.

Mellberg retired in summer 2014.[10]

International career

Mellberg playing for Sweden at UEFA Euro 2012.

Mellberg made his debut against Austria in March 2000.[11]

During an open team practice before the 2002 World Cup, Mellberg broke into a fight with his teammate former Arsenal winger Freddie Ljungberg after a robust tackle from Mellberg.[12] The two of them were quickly separated by teammates. Since then, the two of them have been known for not being the best of friends, and in the 2006 World Cup, Mellberg and Ljungberg, according to leak from inside the team, had a very fiery argument, after Sweden's draw with Trinidad and Tobago.[13] In 2003, he was selected as the best Swedish player of the year, winning the Guldbollen.[14]

During the penalty shoot-out after the Euro 2004 quarter-final against Netherlands, Mellberg has a penalty saved by Edwin van der Sar, as the Netherlands won the shoot-out 5-4 and advanced to the semi-finals.[15]

During a 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match against Croatia in October 2005, Mellberg boxed the ball away with his hand in the Swedish penalty area. Croatia were awarded a penalty kick for this, which Dario Srna scored, and Sweden lost the match 0-1.

After the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Mellberg relinquished his captaincy and Ljungberg took his place as Sweden captain.

On 4 September 2006, Mellberg, along with Sweden teammates Zlatan Ibrahimovi? and Christian Wilhelmsson, was sent home from the national squad for breaking an 11 pm team curfew ahead of a European Championships qualifier against Liechtenstein.[16] On 7 October 2006, Mellberg returned to Sweden's lineup for their European Championships qualifier against Spain, which they won 2-0.[17] In the 2012 European Championships, Mellberg was involved in two goals in their match against England in the group stages to give Sweden a 2-1 lead, however, Sweden went on to lose 2-3[18] while Mellberg became "Man of the Match".[19] After the tournament, Mellberg decided to end his international career.[10]

Style of play

During his career, Mellberg primarily played as a central defender or right-back, although he was also capable of playing in a holding role in midfield on occasion. In a Sports Illustrated profile in the lead-up to Euro 2012, he was described as being "big, strong and exceptional in the air",[20] while a BBC profile ahead of the 2002 World Cup noted that "[h]e pressures attackers superbly and rarely comes off second best in a challenge."[21] Regarded as a promising defender in his youth, he later made a name for himself as a solid, dependable, and hard-tackling centre-back. Although he was not very fast, he was strong, and had an excellent positional sense, and was also a good header of the ball, which made him a goal-threat on set-pieces.[6][22][23]

Managerial career

Brommapojkarna

Mellberg was appointed manager of Swedish club IF Brommapojkarna in November 2015, signing a two year-contract[24] and taking over following their recent relegation to the third tier of Swedish football.

Brommapojkarna won the Division 1 title during Mellberg's first season in charge and won their second successive promotion the following year, in October 2017, to return to the top flight, Allsvenskan. After the season, Mellberg chose not to renew his expiring contract with Brommapojkarna.[25]

Fremad Amager

On 1 July 2019 Fremad Amager announced, that Mellberg had joined the club as their new manager.[26] Mellberg was reinforced with Azrudin Valenti?, who he worked with in Brommapojkarna and who until the arrival of Mellberg, was the manager of the club. With the access of Mellberg, the club changed the structure of the sporting staff, with Mellberg becoming manager and Azrudin Valenti? becoming the first team coach.

Helsingborgs IF

After only two months in charge of Fremad Amager, the club announced that Mellberg had left the club to become the manager of Helsingborgs IF.[27]

Personal life

Mellberg has two children with long term partner Carolina Kihl. Daughter Saga was born in December 2002 and son John was born in July 2006.

Mellberg and Kihl married in Sweden on 13 July 2013.

According to Mellberg's mother, he is considering attending university after his retirement.[28]

Career statistics

Club

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Degerfors IF 1996 Allsvenskan 22 0 -- -- 22 0
1997 Allsvenskan 25 0 -- -- 25 0
Total 47 0 0 0 0 0 47 0
AIK 1998 Allsvenskan 17 0 1 0 -- -- 18 0
Racing Santander 1998-99 La Liga 25 0 7 1 -- -- 32 1
1999-2000 La Liga 37 0 3 0 -- -- 40 0
2000-01 La Liga 36 0 5 0 -- -- 41 0
Total 98 0 15 1 0 0 0 0 113 1
Aston Villa 2001-02 Premier League 32 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 36 0
2002-03 Premier League 38 1 1 0 2 0 2 0 43 1
2003-04 Premier League 33 1 1 0 5 0 -- 39 1
2004-05 Premier League 30 3 1 0 2 0 -- 33 3
2005-06 Premier League 27 0 4 0 2 0 -- 33 0
2006-07 Premier League 38 1 0 0 1 0 -- 39 1
2007-08 Premier League 34 2 1 0 2 0 -- 37 2
Total 232 8 9 0 15 0 4 0 260 8
Juventus 2008-09 Serie A 27 2 4 0 -- 7 0 38 2
Olympiacos 2009-10 Superleague Greece 25 2 4 1 -- 12 0 41 3
2010-11 Superleague Greece 23 3 0 0 -- 3 0 26 3
2011-12 Superleague Greece 23 2 4 1 -- 9 0 36 3
Total 71 7 8 2 0 0 24 0 103 9
Villarreal 2012-13 Segunda División 29 2 0 0 -- -- 29 2
Copenhagen 2013-14 Danish Superliga 22 3 1 0 -- 6 1 29 4
Career total 543 21 38 3 15 0 41 1 636 26

International

As of match played 19 June 2012[29][30]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Sweden 2000 10 0
2001 9 0
2002 11 0
2003 10 1
2004 13 0
2005 8 1
2006 9 0
2007 9 2
2008 9 0
2009 11 3
2010 5 0
2011 7 0
2012 6 1
Total 117 8

International goals

Scores and results list Sweden's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Mellberg goal.[30]
List of international goals scored by Olof Mellberg
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 10 September 2003 Silesian Stadium, Chorzów  Poland 2-0 2-0 Euro 2004 qualifier
2. 3 September 2005 Råsunda Stadium, Solna  Bulgaria 2-0 3-0 2006 World Cup qualifier
3. 6 June 2007 Råsunda Stadium, Solna  Iceland 3-0 5-0 Euro 2008 qualifier
4. 17 October 2007 Råsunda Stadium, Solna  Northern Ireland 1-0 1-1 Euro 2008 qualifier
5. 5 September 2009 Ferenc Puskás Stadium, Budapest  Hungary 1-0 2-1 2010 World Cup qualifier
6. 14 October 2009 Råsunda Stadium, Solna  Albania 1-0 4-1 2010 World Cup qualifier
7. 3-0
8. 15 June 2012 Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kyiv  England 2-1 2-3 Euro 2012

Managerial statistics

As of match played 2 November 2019
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record Ref
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Brommapojkarna Sweden 27 November 2015 21 November 2017 67 44 14 9 140 58 +82 065.67 [31]
Fremad Amager Denmark 1 July 2019 3 September 2019 8 3 3 2 8 8 +0 037.50 [32]
Helsingborg Sweden 3 September 2019 Present 8 3 0 5 8 13 -5 037.50 [33]
Total 83 50 17 16 156 79 +77 060.24 --

Honours

Player

AIK

Aston Villa

Juventus

Olympiacos

F.C. Copenhagen

Individual

Manager

Brommapojkarna

See also

References

  1. ^ "2006 FIFA World Cup Germany List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. p. 26. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/article175580.ab
  3. ^ Shaw, Phil (27 June 2002). "Faces you may recognise in Japan and South Korea The World Cup will feature 68 players - not including the England and Republic of Ireland squads - who earn their living in Britain". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2009.
  4. ^ "Mellberg joins Villa". BBC Sport. 18 July 2001. Retrieved 2001.
  5. ^ a b "Mellberg happy to spend big on Villa fans". Tribal Football. 18 May 2008. Retrieved 2008.[dead link]
  6. ^ a b Bedeschi, Stefano (4 September 2019). "Gli eroi in bianconero: Erik Olof MELLBERG" (in Italian). Tutto Juve. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "Mellberg transferred to Olympiacos. Goodbye Olof". juventus.com. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  8. ^ Hedlundh, Kent (1 July 2012). "Mellberg keeping an open mind". Sky Sports.
  9. ^ "Official: Villarreal replace Zapata with Mellberg". Goal.com. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Olof Mellberg: Former Aston Villa defender retires". BBC Sports. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "Olof Mellberg". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ Carroll, Jack (24 May 2002). "Swedish coach sends Mellberg home". ESPNsoccernet. Retrieved 2002.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Swedish duo in dressing-room spat". BBC Sport. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 2006.
  14. ^ "Guldbollen". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008.
  15. ^ "Holland end Swede dream". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 26 June 2004. Retrieved 2008.
  16. ^ "Swedish coach sends Mellberg home". BBC Sport. 4 September 2006. Retrieved 2006.
  17. ^ "Swedes blank Spain 2-0 in Euro qualifier". FoxSports. Archived from the original on 15 February 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  18. ^ McNulty, Phil (15 June 2012). "Sweden 2-3 England". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ Saffer, Paul (15 June 2012). "Welbeck's England winner ousts Sweden in EURO 2012 Group D". uefa.com. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ Marcotti, Gabrielle (6 June 2012). "Euro 2012: Sweden". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2012.
  21. ^ "2002 World Cup: Olof Mellberg". BBC Sports. 3 May 2002. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ Hayward, Joshua (9 August 2013). "20 Greatest Aston Villa Players of All Time". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ "Euro 2000: Olof Mellberg". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ Wollaston, Steve (27 November 2015). "Aston Villa news digest: Olof Mellberg starts managerial career; Carlos Sanchez impresses the boss; Martin Keown says Jack Grealish is letting people down; Harry Redknapp asks - 'Who does he think he is?'". www.birminghammail.co.uk.
  25. ^ "Olof Mellberg och Azrudin Valentic lämnar BP". Brommapojkarna. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ SVENSK "DREAM TEAM" GENFORENES I FREMAD AMAGER, fremadamagerelite.dk, 1 July 2019
  27. ^ MELLBERG STOPPER I FREMAD OG FORTSÆTTER KARRIEREN I HELSINGBORG, fremadamagerelite.dk, 3 September 2019
  28. ^ http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/fotbollsbladet/landslagsfotboll/vm2006/article380721.ab
  29. ^ "Olof Mellberg". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Olof Mellberg - Century of International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 2019.
  31. ^ "IF Brommapojkarna: Matches". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 2019.
  32. ^ "Fremad Amager: Matches". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "Helsingborgs IF: Matches". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 2019.
  34. ^ "Guldbollen 2003 - Olof Mellberg". Fogis (in Swedish). 24 February 2004. Retrieved 2014.
  35. ^ "All-Star Squad revealed". UEFA. 5 July 2004. Retrieved 2014.

External links


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