Sven-Göran Eriksson today revealed he has terminal cancer, declaring: ‘I have to fight as long as possible’.
The former England manager, 75, fears he has a year to live or at ‘worst a little less’ after the bombshell diagnosis last year.
He said: ‘Everyone understands that I have an illness that is not good. Everyone guesses it’s cancer and it is. But I have to fight as long as I can’.
When asked what the prognosis is, he told Sweden’s P1 radio station that he has ‘maybe at best a year, at worst a little less, or at best maybe even longer. You can’t be absolutely sure. It is better not to think about it’.
There had been speculation about his health after he stopped working as sporting director of Karlstad in his native Sweden. Today he revealed that he collapsed after a run last year and found out he was seriously ill.
He said: ‘It is not good. Everyone guessed it’s cancer and it is. But I have to fight as long as I can.
‘But you can trick your brain. See the positive in things, don’t wallow in adversity, because this is the biggest adversity of course, but make something good out of it’.
Sven Goran Eriksson has told Swedish radio he has cancer and may only have a year to live
The football manager was England boss between 2001 and 2006. Sven pictured with David Beckham after dumped out of the 2006 World Cup by Portugal in the quarter final
Sven with his former partner Nancy Dell’olio
Sven told P1 that he had suddenly collapsed while going for a 5km run.
After seeing his doctors, it turned out that Eriksson had suffered a stroke and also had cancer.
He said: ‘They don’t know how long I had cancer, maybe a month or a year’.
In a glittering managerial career Sven was boss of IFK Gothenburg, Benfica, Roma, Roma, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Lazio, Manchester City and Leicester City.
He was also manager of Mexico, Ivory Coast and the Philippines.
But while in charge of England for five years he became the most famous football manager in the world.
Between 2001 and 2006 he guided the so-called ‘golden generation’ of stars including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard but never won the major trophy that was expected.
Eriksson returned to his long-term partner, the Italian lawyer Nancy Dell’Olio
Rumours of Eriksson’s relationship with TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson emerged in 2002 and were later confirmed. Ulrika said that sex with Sven-Göran Eriksson was as ‘boring as building an Ikea bookcase’
Eriksson’s affair with FA secretary Faria Alam was all over the papers during 2004
His tragic diagnosis came almost exactly 22 years after he resigned as Lazio manager earlier than expected to assume his coaching role with England.
The Swede had signed a five-year contract three months earlier to take over in the summer of 2001.
Eriksson said his Lazio side ‘were one of the best in the world’ and he was probably correct.
But that ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to manage England, and the £3million salary that came with it, proved too good to turn down.
Eriksson soon revitalised a long-failing England side. The team’s thumping 5-1 win over Germany offering great optimism and flipping the qualifying group for World Cup 2002, even if it took Beckham’s last-minute free-kick against Greece to avoid a tricky play-off with Ukraine.
The intimate details of his affair with TV host and compatriot Ulrika Jonsson dominated front and back pages for weeks before Eriksson went back to long-term partner Nancy Dell’Olio, an Italian lawyer.
Eriksson demanded his private life should remain private but the job was too much in the white hot glare of the spotlight for that to wash.
On the pitch, England laboured through their World Cup group but gathered momentum by battering Denmark.
In the quarter-final with Brazil, England led through Owen but David Seaman’s hapless misjudgement of Ronaldinho’s flighted free-kick five minutes after half-time saw them trailing.
‘We wanted Winston Churchill and we got Iain Duncan Smith,’ Southgate famously said of Eriksson’s limp half-time team talk but it was his dithering over subs and tactics when Ronaldinho was sent off with 33 minutes left that ultimately cost England.
Sven Goran Eriksson while manager of Lazio in Rome
England’s unforgettable 5-1 win in Munich offered hope Eriksson could deliver success
David Beckham’s last-gasp free-kick against Greece sent England to the 2002 World Cup
But David Seaman’s horrendous misjudgement of Ronaldinho’s free-kick cost England in 2002
Eriksson took England to three major quarter-finals and lost twice on penalties. Their first loss came in the 2004 European Champions. Beckham fired his penalty over the bar (above)
The 2006 World Cup saw England crash out again to Portugal after Rooney’s red card
England will likely never have a better chance to win a World Cup. If they’d overcome 10-man Brazil, they would have faced Turkey in the semi-finals and a Germany team they’d recently thrashed 5-1 in the final.
Eriksson continued but a year later was spotted with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, leading to paper speculation he was about to reap the rewards of Roman Abramovich’s arrival.
In the end, the FA were the ones that panicked, tabling an extended contract until 2008 at £5m-a-year.
And when an England side that were booed off at Upton Park after losing a friendly to Australia and could only draw 2-2 at home to Macedonia before scraping qualification for Euro 2004, the omens weren’t good.
So it proved. Recovering from opening night defeat to France, a team powered up by 18-year-old Rooney swept aside Switzerland and Croatia to set up a quarter-final with hosts Portugal.
Again England squandered an early lead given them by Owen before Sol Campbell saw a goal disallowed in extra time and the inevitable exit on penalties.
The talents of the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ were patently going to waste but sacking Sven was too expensive for the FA to contemplate.
He laboured on but when details of his affair with FA secretary Faria Alam emerged two months after the tournament, another chunk of credibility was chipped away.
There was an easy tabloid contrast to be drawn between his impassive observations from the bench and apparent energy behind drawn curtains.
By the time the 2006 World Cup rolled around, Eriksson had been duped by the News of the World’s ‘Fake Sheikh’ Mazher Mahmood, betraying confidences about players and clubs.
FA chief executive Brian Barwick cut short Eriksson’s contract, with a reduced pay-off, and told him to deliver success in the tournament in Germany. But they failed at the quarter-final stage again.