Happy Birthday, Svennis

Today is the 70th birthday of Coppa Italia and Scudetto winner Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Words: Ramez Nathan

Eriksson had a short career as a player, retiring at the age of 27 as he was looked upon as an average defender, pushing him to start pursuing a managerial career.

After a flawless spell with Swedish side IFK Göteborg, winning the Allsvenskan, the Svenska Cupen and eventually the UEFA Cup, the Coach moved to Portugal with Benfica where he won the league title twice and the cup on one occasion to earn a move to Roma in 1984.

With the red side of the Capital of Italy expecting a saviour claiming titles, Eriksson was not off to the best start with La Magica but eventually brought home the Coppa Italia title thanks to a  Stefano Desideri penalty and a Toninho Cerezo later winner.

Following his three years with Roma, Svennis moved to Fiorentina in 1987. However, his spell was dry failing to grab any silverware which ended with Eriksson heading back to Benfica.

After another Primeira Liga triumph with Benfica, the professor returned to Italy through the gates of I Blucerchiati Sampdoria in 1992.

Eriksson spent five seasons on the helm of La Samp where he marched victorious with the 1993-94 Coppa Italia title, crushing Ancona with six goals to one and claiming the last trophy in the cabinet of Il Doria till this day.

The next chapter was the most beautiful of the Swede’s career, he signed for Lazio where he won the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa and UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup in the years of 1998 and 1999. But that’s not the highlight of his journey, the unforgettable season was the following one.

Lazio kicked-off the season of the new millennium defeating Manchester United to win the UEFA Super Cup thanks to the strike of Marcelo Salas and they went on to win the double that year, the Coppa Italia and the most dramatic Serie A title in the final round of the league.

This was Lazio’s only Scudetto title in the past four decades and their only double in history.

Eriksson once said: “The best years of my life were probably when I went to Rome, with the great Lazio.”

They surely were the years were the mastermind of Eriksson reached its peak and formed disciples, years that we are still bearing the fruits of till this day.

With Roberto Mancini, along with his assistant Attilio Lombardo, capturing titles everywhere they go, Diego Simoene becoming the legendary boss that he is, Matías

Almeyda succeeding in Mexico, Sérgio Conceição leading in Portugal and perhaps Simone Inzaghi could soon replicate the accomplishments of his former coach.

Eriksson may not be on the sidelines anymore, yet the seeds of his legacy are bearing fruit, and his influence can still be felt in the modern game.

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