Ljungberg passed on European interest to join Fire
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — New Chicago Fire Designated Player Freddie Ljungberg revealed on Wednesday that he spurned offers from several high caliber European clubs to play for the Fire.
“It was more a question of if I was going back to Europe to play with a Champions League team,” Ljungberg said. “There were some clubs on that level [that made offers] ... but I felt that I made a commitment for the MLS, and I felt I still should stay here and try to finish it.”
The 33-year-old Swedish midfielder—acquired by the Fire last week in a trade with Seattle—fell out of favor with the Sounders early last month, making his final appearance for the team on July 4. Ljungberg made it clear that he would be leaving Seattle shortly thereafter, electing to train on his own rather than participate with the full team beginning in mid-July.
The Fire pounced on the opportunity to nab a second DP, arranging a meeting between Ljungberg, Fire owner Andrew Hauptman and technical director Frank Klopas to discuss a potential move.
“I don’t want to say exactly when it happened but it was a while ago,” Ljungberg said of the meeting. “What sold it to me is how Andrew and Frank were in the meeting. How they really wanted this club to go to the next level sold it to me. I like to win, so if they can make that happen that’d be great.”
Ljungberg's contract expires at the end of this season, and he says he will consider enacting his player option to remain stateside for 2011.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “It’s going to be great I think, and we’ll see [what happens] in the future.”
Ljungberg will make his home debut for the Fire on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.