In a move that surprised more than a few pundits, Swedish football legend Freddie Ljungberg has decided to move to the United States to finish off his football career. Ljungberg has just signed with the newest club to join the United States’ Major League Soccer professional league, the Seattle Sounders FC.
The move comes after he was released from English Premier League club West Ham in August and his retirement from the Swedish national team in June. Ljungberg hopes he can enjoy what’s left of his playing days in America. At his first press conference in Seattle he seemed quite content.
“I’m really happy to be here, I feel so welcome,” he said. “I want to come here to play football. I want to help make the league better.” This sounds vaguely like David Beckham’s comments when he joined the LA Galaxy a year ago. Beckham is now on loan to AC Milan.
Ljungberg put in nine impressive years with England’s Arsenal, but was eventually plagued by injuries. His arrival in Seattle makes him part of an elite group of top-flight European players who are exempt from salary caps.
The Local newspaper reports Ljungberg’s salary will start at around US$2.5 million a season over several years. He will also have US goalkeeper Casey Keller at his back as well as French forward Sebastien Le Toux.