The much-anticipated Indian Super League has got a further shot in the arm, this time from a Gunner, as Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg signed a deal with the franchise-based event with an aim to give Indian football a taste of the English Premier League.
"Even though I am retired, when this opportunity came up I was really excited to be involved. Indian football is such a growing market and this is a great opportunity for me to take my knowledge of the English Premier League over to India to help launch the league," Ljungberg, who will be one of the marquee players in the league, said. (Money not very good but ISL won't harm football, says Bhutia)
The former Swedish international, who has 75 caps for his country, is best known for his nine-year career at Arsenal where he scored 72 goals, won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups.
In 2003, Ljungberg became the third player in the history of the competition to ever score in two successive FA Cup finals. He was one of 'The Invincibles' - squad that remained unbeaten for 49 games in 2002, when Ljungberg was also named Barclaycard Player of the Season.
Arsenal fans created the song 'We love you Freddie' to the tune of 'Can't take my eyes off of you' by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. During his time at Arsenal, Ljungberg also became known off the pitch for his iconic images for the Calvin Klein underwear campaign.
After leaving Arsenal in 2007, Ljungberg moved to West Ham United and later to Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire in the USA. He retired from international football in 2012.
Jeff Slack, Senior Vice President, Global Football - IMG said, "We are all elated and are confident that Freddie's inclusion will be a landmark achievement for the team he will be eventually picked up by. We are sure that his unmatchable track record and top flight experience will take the League to a completely different level."
Recently, ISL had announced a strategic partnership with the English Premier League (EPL) to bring its best practices to India under the exchange program.
ISL will be played among eight clubs -- Atletico de Kolkata, Kerala Blasters FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, NorthEast United FC, Team Pune, Team Mumbai, Team Goa and Team Bengaluru.