February 23, 2024

Sven-Goran Eriksson: The former England coach says he has cancer and is 'in the best shape of the year' to be alive

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“You appreciate every day” – Erickson talks about being diagnosed with terminal cancer

Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said he had the “best year” to live after being diagnosed with cancer.

The 75-year-old Swede was the first foreign coach to coach the England national team and led the team to the quarter-finals in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and the 2004 European Championship.

“I will resist as long as I can,” Eriksson told Swedish P1 Radio.

“I have a serious illness. At best every year, I get worse at a much lower rate. It's impossible to say exactly, so it's best not to think about it.”

Eriksson, who has worked in management for 42 years, learned of his cancer diagnosis “about a year ago” and stepped down from his last role as sporting director at Swedish club Karlstad 11 months ago due to health issues.

“I live a completely normal life,” Eriksson told BBC World Service Sporting Witness.

“I'm not in hospital, I go every now and then to visit but I live at home and I have friends here. Christmas and New Year, the whole family was here – lots of people.

“I'm going out and trying to exercise as much as I can, which is less than a year ago, but I have a normal life.

“When you get a message like that, you appreciate every day and you're happy when you wake up in the morning and you feel okay, and that's what I do.

“I thought I was healthy but suddenly I had a mini-stroke and fell and my children took me to the hospital.

“One day after the scan they told me I had had five mini-strokes, but they said 'no problem, you'll recover from this 100%', but even worse they said I had cancer and they couldn't operate on it.

“They said they would give me treatment and medicine to try to live as long as possible. I received this diagnosis and they cannot operate unfortunately.”

Eriksson began his coaching career with Degerfors in 1977 before joining Swedish side Gothenburg, where he won the Swedish title, two Swedish Cups and the 1981 UEFA Cup.

He then went on to enjoy two spells with Portuguese giants Benfica as well as Italian sides Roma, Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Lazio – where he won seven titles including a Serie A title, two Italian Cups and a European Cup Winners' Cup.

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Sven-Goran Eriksson talks about the reaction after becoming England's first foreign coach

A historic date in England

Eriksson resigned from his position at Lazio in January 2001 to succeed Kevin Keegan as England coach.

During his time with England, Eriksson led the Three Lions to fame 5-1 win over Germany In Munich during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, where Michael Owen scored a hat-trick.

Eriksson was responsible for two World Cup campaigns, and was eliminated from the 2002 and 2006 editions in the quarter-finals thanks to a long-range free kick by Ronaldinho that helped Brazil beat England 2-1 in the first edition, while Portugal won on penalties After Wayne Rooney was sent off after an incident with his Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in the latter.

He led the national team to just one European Championship in 2004 when it was Portugal who once again brought England home with another penalty shootout win in the quarter-finals.

After a period of five years, that was the case Announced in January 2006 That Eriksson was leaving after that summer's World Cup in Germany despite having two years remaining on his contract.

No official reason was given for his departure at the time, although the Swede came under pressure after being stung by a newspaper journalist.

His years as England coach were marked by scandals surrounding his private life, including newspapers revealing his relationships with TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson in 2002 and former Football Association secretary Faria Allam in 2004.

England posted on X: “Sending our love, Sven,” while former England captain Wayne Rooney said: “Sad news this morning. Thoughts are with Sven-Goran Eriksson and his family.” Everyone. We are all with you Sven, keep fighting.”

Eriksson went on to have a varied managerial career after his departure from England, including spells with Manchester City and Leicester City, alongside roles with the national teams of Mexico, Ivory Coast and the Philippines.

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