There’s been a lot of love this week shown by Aston Villa supporters to their former centre-back Olof Mellberg, who this week announced his retirement from the game. The Swede will also always be remembered for showing his gratitude to the Villa faithful by giving each of the 3,200 fans that traveled to Upton Park for his last game, a shirt with the message: ‘Mellberg 4 – Thanks For Your Support’. A generous and heartfelt gesture – at odds with how we’ve come to perceive the clinical modern game – that will forever immortalise the man he was.
Showing similar sentiment recently was his international teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a Facebook tribute to Mellberg, which we thought was worth posting in its entirety below. Fitting words for a modern-day Villa legend.
[pull_quote_center]If Olof in my opinion is the best Swedish defender of all times, I think the person Olof is even better.[/pull_quote_center]
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Olof Mellberg Tribute
The day Olof Mellberg decided to quit the national team it was a great loss to Swedish football and the team. But to me personally it was an even greater loss. When I had him on the team I never had to look back because I knew he was behind me and I could concentrate on what was going on up ahead.
Olof was the person that trigged and challenged me. This drove me to want to do more on the pitch.
Olof had a winner mentality like no other. He simply refused to lose, not only in football but in practically everything. And when he did lose, which rarely happened, he refused to admit it. I think this mentality was what took him a long way in his carreer.
I’ve been doubly lucky when it comes to Olof. Firstly because I got to play with him, and secondly because I got know the person Olof Mellberg, not only the player.
If Olof in my opinion is the best Swedish defender of all times, I think the person Olof is even better.
It is sad that Olof now chooses to end his career because I’m sure he has much more to give.
I wish Olof Mellberg and his family all happiness and love in the future.
Thank you my friend.