Olof Mellberg

Olof Mellberg
Mellberg with Copenhagen in 2013
Personal information
Full name Erik Olof Mellberg
Date of birth (1977-09-03) 3 September 1977
Place of birth Gullspång, Sweden
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1994–1996 Gullspångs IF
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1997 Degerfors IF 47 (0)
1997–1998 AIK 17 (0)
1998–2001 Racing Santander 98 (0)
2001–2008 Aston Villa 232 (8)
2008–2009 Juventus 27 (2)
2009–2012 Olympiacos 71 (7)
2012–2013 Villarreal 29 (2)
2013–2014 Copenhagen 22 (3)
Total 543 (22)
National team
1996–1999 Sweden U21 27 (4)
2000–2012 Sweden 117 (8)
Teams managed
2016–2017 IF Brommapojkarna
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Erik Olof Mellberg (pronounced [²uːlɔf ²mɛlːbærj]; born 3 September 1977 in Amnehärad, Gullspång) is a Swedish former footballer and manager.

During his career, Mellberg played as a central defender or right-back and was described as being "big, strong and exceptional in the air".[1] He is best known for his time at Aston Villa, as well as spells with Juventus and Greek side Olympiacos.

Mellberg played for Sweden in two World Cups and four European Championships and is a former captain of the national team. Mellberg ended his international career with 8 goals in 117 matches.

Early years

Erik Olof Mellberg was born in Gullspång, Sweden on 3 September 1977 to parents Berit and Erik. Mellberg's mother Berit was a physical education teacher who passed on her love of sport to her son.[2] As a youth, Mellberg enjoyed playing tennis and dreamed of Wimbledon rather than the World Cup. Mellberg was something of a tennis prodigy[3] and it was not until he was 14 that Mellberg began to focus on football.[2]

Club career

Early career

Mellberg played for local side Gullspång before being picked up by then Swedish Premiership side Degerfors IF. After being relegated he joined capital club AIK, where he made an instant impression, became Swedish champion 1998 and was sold after just 10 months. Spanish side Racing Santander moved to secure the promising Swedish centre half, and although having a difficult time adjusting to Spanish football he soon claimed a starting berth and impressed in his first season. Continuing to play well, Mellberg was said to be on his way to several big Spanish sides, including Barcelona and Valencia.

Aston Villa

However, Aston Villa managed to secure his signature and he became a consistent and vital part of the team.[4] Mellberg was left out of boss David O'Leary's first side for a game against Portsmouth, but was soon made the captain of the club for the rest of his reign. Mellberg was a vital part of the team that finished 6th in the Premier League and reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in O'Leary's first season. Mellberg resigned as captain following the 2006 World Cup—he was replaced by Gareth Barry. In 2007 the new manager of Aston Villa, Martin O'Neill, continued to consider Mellberg as the first choice centre back. On the opening day of the 2006–07 Premiership season Mellberg became the first person to score in a competitive game at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium. During the 2007–08 season, he played at the right back position following the purchase of Zat Knight, who played alongside Martin Laursen at centre back. Mellberg was sent off against Portsmouth on 15 March 2008 for two bookable offences.

In January 2008 it was announced that Mellberg had signed a pre-contract agreement with Juventus. His final home game for Aston Villa was against Wigan Athletic on 3 May. The game was designated as "Olof Mellberg" day in appreciation of his service to the club. On his final game for Aston Villa away at West Ham United, as a leaving gift, Mellberg gave every single Villa fan at Upton Park either a home or an away shirt with his name and number on the back and the message Thanks 4 Your Support – being the number 4 of Aston Villa.[5] He also said he would frame the kit which he used on his last ever Aston Villa game – the game against West Ham.[5] To this day Mellberg is very highly thought of and respected by Aston Villa supporters as one of their greatest ever players.


In January 2008 it was confirmed that Mellberg had signed a pre-contract agreement with Italian giants Juventus, allowing him a Bosman move to Serie A on a three-year contract for the start of the 2008–09 season. He made his Juventus debut on 16 July 2008 in a friendly match versus Serie B outfit, Piacenza. Juventus surprisingly lost the match 1–0. On 18 January 2009, Mellberg scored his first goal for Juventus against Lazio in the 30th minute.


On 23 June 2009, it was confirmed that Mellberg agreed with Olympiacos to sign a three-year contract with the club. Olympiacos paid Juventus €2.5 million for the Swede's signature.[6] Despite the rotation of several managers in the club while there, he was always a constant in the central defence and his consistency and experience proved to be invaluable for Olympiakos. Thanks to his passionate play and high professionalism, he has become a fan favourite – to the point that when Olympiakos had a streak of bad games, Mellberg was always the only player who was spared from criticism – and one of the most highly respected players in Greece.

Mellberg turned down a new deal at the end of the 2011–12 season to extend his time in Athens, hoping to find a new challenge with his agent saying, "...we don't close any doors."[7]


On 8 August 2012, Mellberg signed a one-year contract with Spanish club Villarreal.[8] Mellberg appeared 29 times for Villareal in Spanish Segunda Division, scoring twice, and was an important part of the squad that finished second in Segunda Division and was promoted to Spain major league La Liga.

FC Copenhagen

On 9 July 2013, Mellberg signed a two-year contract with Danish champions FC Copenhagen, but left after one season.

International career

Mellberg made his debut against Austria in March 2000[9] and was a member of the Sweden national football team in the 2002 World Cup and 2006 World Cup, as well as the Euro 2000, Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. He scored 8 goals in 117 caps, before retiring from the national team following Euro 2012.

During an open team practice before the 2002 World Cup, Mellberg broke into a fight with his teammate former Arsenal winger Fredrik Ljungberg after a robust tackle from Mellberg.[10] The two of them were quickly separated by teammates. Since then, the two of them have been known for not being the best of friends, and in the 2006 World Cup, Mellberg and Ljungberg, according to leak from inside the team, had a very fiery argument, after Sweden's draw with Trinidad and Tobago.[11] In 2003, he was selected as the best Swedish player of the year, winning the Guldbollen.[12]

After the World Cup in Germany, Mellberg relinquished his captaincy and Ljungberg took his place as Sweden captain.

On 4 September 2006, Mellberg, along with Sweden teammates Zlatan Ibrahimović and Christian Wilhelmsson, was sent home from the national squad for breaking an 11 pm team curfew ahead of a European Championships qualifier against Liechtenstein.[13] On 7 October 2006, Mellberg returned to Sweden's lineup for their European Championships qualifier against Spain, which they won 2–0.[14] In the 2012 European Championships, Mellberg scored twice in their match against England in the group stages to give Sweden a 2–1 lead, however, Sweden went on to lose 2–3.[15] After the tournament, Mellberg decided to end his international career.[16][17]

International goals

Scores and results list Sweden's goal tally first.
1.10 September 2003Silesian Stadium, Chorzów Poland2–02–0Euro 2004 qualifier
2.3 September 2005Råsunda Stadium, Solna Bulgaria2–03–02006 World Cup qualifier
3.6 June 2007Råsunda Stadium, Solna Iceland3–05–0Euro 2008 qualifier
4.17 October 2007Råsunda Stadium, Solna Northern Ireland1–01–1Euro 2008 qualifier
5.5 September 2009Ferenc Puskás Stadium, Budapest Hungary1–02–12010 World Cup qualifier
6.14 October 2009Råsunda Stadium, Solna Albania1–04–12010 World Cup qualifier
8.15 June 2012Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kiev England2–12–3Euro 2012

Managerial career


Mellberg was appointed manager of Swedish club IF Brommapojkarna in November 2015, signing a two year-contract[18] and taking over following their recent relegation to the third tier of Swedish football.

Brommapojkarna won the Division 1 title during Mellberg's first season in charge and won their second successive promotion the following year, in October 2017, to return to the top flight, Allsvenskan. After the season, Mellberg chose not to renew his expiring contract with Brommapojkarna.[19]

Personal life

Mellberg has two children with long term partner Carolina Kihl. Daughter Saga was born in December 2002 and son John was born in July 2006.

Mellberg and Kihl married in Sweden on July 13, 2013.

According to Mellberg's mother, he is considering attending university after his retirement.[20]

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Sweden League Svenska Cupen League Cup Europe Total
1996Degerfors IFAllsvenskan22000220
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
1998–99Racing SantanderLa Liga25000250
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2001–02Aston VillaPremier League320101020360
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
2008–09JuventusSerie A2724070382
Greece League Greek Cup League Cup Europe Total
2009–10OlympiacosSuperleague Greece25241120413
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
2012–13Villarreal CFSegunda División29200292
Denmark League Danish Cup League Cup Europe Total
2013–14CopenhagenDanish Superliga2231061294
Total Sweden 640000000640
Spain 12720000001272
England 232890150402608
Italy 272400070382
Greece 71782002401039
Denmark 223100061294
Career total 5432122215041162025



Aston Villa
F.C. Copenhagen




See also


  1. Marcotti, Gabrielle (6 June 2012). "Euro 2012: Sweden". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  2. 1 2 http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/article175580.ab
  3. Shaw, Phil (27 June 2002). "Faces you may recognise in Japan and South Korea The World Cup will feature 68 players – not including the England and Republic of Ireland squads – who earn their living in Britain". The Independent. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  4. "Mellberg joins Villa". BBC Sport. 18 July 2001. Retrieved 18 July 2001.
  5. 1 2 "Mellberg happy to spend big on Villa fans". tribalfootball.com. 18 May 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  6. "Mellberg transferred to Olympiacos. Goodbye Olof". juventus.com. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  7. Sky Sports http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/12691/7835657/Mellberg-keeping-an-open-mind. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. "Official: Villarreal replace Zapata with Mellberg". Goal.com. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  9. "Olof Mellberg". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  10. Carroll, Jack (24 May 2002). "Swedish coach sends Mellberg home". ESPNsoccernet. Retrieved 24 May 2002.
  11. "Swedish duo in dressing-room spat". BBC Sport. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2006.
  12. "Guldbollen". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  13. "Swedish coach sends Mellberg home". BBC Sport. 4 September 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
  14. "Swedes blank Spain 2–0 in Euro qualifier". FoxSports. Archived from the original on 15 February 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
  15. Lawton, Matt (15 June 2012). "Sweden 2 England 3: It's Y-Abba D-Abba do! Victory for Roy's band of super troupers". Daily Mail. London.
  16. "Former Villa skipper Mellberg to retire from internationals after Euros". London: Daily Mail. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  17. "Mellberg to quit Sweden role". SkySports. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  18. http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/aston-villa-news-digest-olof-10511097
  19. "Olof Mellberg och Azrudin Valentic lämnar BP". Brommapojkarna. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  20. http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/fotbollsbladet/landslagsfotboll/vm2006/article380721.ab
  21. "Guldbollen 2003 - Olof Mellberg". Fogis (in Swedish). 24 February 2004. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  22. "All-Star Squad revealed". UEFA. 5 July 2004. Retrieved 5 October 2014.

First Goal Ever Scored at Emirate stadium (Aston Villa vs Arsenal)

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