Ex-England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has at best “maybe a year” to live, he said Thursday. The 75-year-old Swede, who has managed a slew of high-profile teams and took England to World Cup quarter-finals in 2002 and 2006, announced in February last year that he was stepping back from public appearances “due to health issues”. “Everyone understands that I have a disease that is not good. Everyone guesses that it’s cancer, and it is. But I have to put up a fight as long as I can,” Eriksson told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio in an interview.
Eriksson said that in his doctor’s assessment he had “at best maybe a year (to live), at worst a little less”.
“You have to trick your brain,” he added.
“I could think about it all the time, and sit home and mope, feel unlucky and so on. I think it’s easy to end up like that,” he told the broadcaster.
“See the positive in things,” he said.
“Don’t bury yourself due to adversity. This is the biggest adversity of course, but try to make something good out of it.”
Born February 5, 1948 in Sunne in western Sweden, Eriksson, who goes by “Svennis” to Swedes, found success as a football manager after retiring from a modest career as a defender.
In 1977, he became manager of Swedish club Degerfors IF. After leading the small club to success in lower divisions, he attracted the attention of bigger clubs.
He went on to manage Sweden’s IFK Goteborg before finding success internationally, managing Benfica in Portugal, as well as several Italian teams including Roma and Lazio.
His most high-profile position was as the first foreigner to manage England’s national squad.
During his spell, he took England to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002, where they were knocked out by Brazil.
They also made the quarters four years later where Portugal came out on top in a penalty shoot-out in a game where Wayne Rooney was red-carded after a clash with then Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Eriksson took England to the last-eight of the 2004 Euros where Portugal again knocked them out in another shoot-out.
He left the England job in 2006 after five years.
His time in the hotseat had seen a memorable 5-1 win over Germany in a World Cup qualifier but also controversy over his personal life.
“Sad news this morning. Thoughts are with Sven Goran-Eriksson and his family. A brilliant coach and a special person. Loved and respected by everyone. We’re all with you Sven, keep fighting,” wrote Rooney on ‘X’.
Eriksson has since managed Mexico, Ivory Coast and the Philippines, but never his native Sweden’s national squad.
English champions Manchester City, one of Eriksson’s former clubs, said on ‘X’: “Everyone at Manchester City is thinking of Sven-Göran Eriksson, and we wish to express our collective support to our former manager, and his family and friends, during this time.”
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