Sven-Goran Eriksson: Former England Manager Diagnosed With Terminal Cancer

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson says he has “best case a year” to live after being diagnosed with cancer.

The 75-year-old Swede was the first foreign coach to manage England and led the side to the quarter-finals of the 2002 and 2006 World Cup and 2004 Euros.

“I’m going to resist for as long as I can,” Eriksson told Swedish Radio P1.

“I have a serious illness. The best case is a year, and I have the worst case a lot less. It’s impossible to say exactly, so it’s better not to think about it.”

Eriksson, who had a 42-year career in management, learned of his cancer diagnosis “almost one year ago” and stood down from his most recent role as sporting director at Swedish club Karlstad 11 months ago because of health issues.

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

“I’m not in hospital, I go now and then for a visit but I live at home and I have friends here. Christmas and New Year, the whole family were here – a lot of people.

“I’m going out to try and exercise as much as possible, which is less than it was one year ago, but I have a normal life.

“When you get a message like that, you appreciate every day and you are happy when you wake up in the morning and you feel OK, so that’s what I’m doing.

Eriksson began his managerial career with Degerfors in 1977 before joining fellow 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 trophies including the Serie A title, two Italian Cups and the Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup.

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

“After one day of examination, they told me I had five small strokes, but said ‘no problem, you will recover 100% from that’, but worse is they said I have cancer which they can’t operate on.

“They said they would give me treatment and medicine to try and live as long as possible. I have that diagnosis and they can’t operate, unfortunately.”

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

During his time with England, Eriksson led the Three Lions to a famous 5-1 win against Germany in Munich during qualifying for the 2002 World Cup, with Michael Owen scoring a hat-trick.

Eriksson was in charge for two World Cup campaigns, exiting both the 2002 and 2006 editions at the quarter-final stage with Ronaldinho’s long-range free kick helping Brazil beat England 2-1 in the former, while Portugal prevailed on penalties after Wayne Rooney had been sent off following an incident with his Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in the latter.

He took the national side to just one European Championship in 2004 when it was Portugal again who sent England home with another penalty shootout victory in the last eight.

After a five year stint, it was announced in January 2006 that Eriksson was to leave his role following that summer’s World Cup in Germany despite having two years left on his contract.

No official reason was given for his departure, though the Swede had come under pressure after being caught in a newspaper sting by a tabloid journalist.

His years as England manager were marked by scandal over his private life, including newspapers revealing affairs with television presenter Ulrika Jonsson in 2002 and former Football Association secretary Faria Alam 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. A brilliant coach and a special person. Loved and respected by everyone. We’re all with you, Sven, keep fighting.”

Eriksson went on to have a varied managerial career following his England departure, including spells with Manchester City and Leicester City, along with roles with national sides Mexico, Ivory Coast and the Philippines.

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