Serie A has seen a wide variety of world-class Swedish players throughout the years. This includes Gunnar Nordahl of AC Milan, the league’s third-best goalscorer of all time. There is also Nils Liedholm, also of AC Milan, as a player and a manager. The third member of the “Gre-No-Li” trio is Gunnar Gren.
One can of course not forget to mention Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a player with four different stints in Serie A; he won one league title with Juventus, one with Inter, two with Milan. Anders Limpar is a forgotten great of the game who later experienced stunning success in the Premier League. Also consider Robert Prytz, who also made a European Cup final appearance with Malmö FF.
Furthermore, it is important to highlight the heroes of Sweden’s 1994 World Cup squad such as Kennet Andersson of Bari, Bologna, and Lazio. In addition, Tomas Brolin of Parma, Jonas Thern of Napoli and Roma, Stefan Schwarz of Fiorentina. Lastly, Klas Ingesson of Bari, Bologna, and Lecce.
Also, some players who just narrowly missed out on that golden generation – Fiorentina’s Glenn Hysen and Como’s Dan Corneliusson.
But rather than highlighting retired Swedish players, this article will examine the current Swedish Serie A players. As well as some that played their recently, but have since departed to other leagues.
A Survey of Current Swedish Serie A Players
As of May 2020, the Swedish players that currently reside in Serie A are Albin Ekdal (Sampdoria), Sebastian Eriksson (Cagliari), Riccardo Gagliolo (Parma), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Milan), Dejan Kulusevski (Parma), Robin Olsen (Cagliari), Ken Sema (Udinese), and Mattias Svanberg (Bologna). Albin Ekdal has plenty of Serie A experience. Starting off with Juventus in 2008 but quickly being loaned away to Siena. On 28 June 2010, Juventus sold 50% of its shares in Ekdal to Bologna (via Dagens Nyheter). This is a club he quickly established himself as a starter for. In the subsequent season, he signed for Cagliari and enjoyed a solid four-year stint at the club. After few seasons in the Bundesliga, Ekdal is now back in Serie A with Sampdoria. He is instrumental to Sweden’s national team.
Further Examining the Players
Sebastian Eriksson is a lesser-known footballer, but underrated. He played for Cagliari a few seasons between 2011 and 2015 (same time as Albin Ekdal) and freshly signed for Genoa in 2020. He needs more time before he can be given an accurate verdict. Riccardo Gagliolo is an example of hard work paying off; he went from struggling in the lower divisions of Italian football to establishing himself as a top defender with Parma in Serie A. Making his international debut aged 28 in 2019. There is definitely a case for him to be included in Sweden’s EURO squad.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Simply writing the name is enough; people know what he has accomplished and what he is capable of. He was won Serie A titles with Juventus, Inter, and Milan. He is a living legend.
Excluding Alexander Isak, Dejan Kulusevski is arguably the brightest shining beacon of Sweden’s footballing future. The 19-year-old is placed fourth in the league in terms of assists; he has achieved this at ninth-placed Parma no less!
Robin Olsen, Ken Sema and Mattias Svanberg
Robin Olsen is Sweden’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper, even though Kristoffer Nordfeldt is a worthy adversary. The 30-year-old has played for Roma and Cagliari. He has admittedly struggled a decent amount in the league, despite some heroic performances. But he is a great goalkeeper nonetheless. Sweden will be lucky to have him between the sticks this summer.
Ken Sema made a name for himself in Östersunds odds-defying season where they reached the knockout stage of the Europa League, even defeating Arsenal at the Emirates. He subsequently signed a contract with Watford and is currently on loan with Serie A club Udinese.
Mattias Svanberg is another exciting young prospect Sweden possesses. The 21-year-old is currently trying to make a name for himself with Bologna and only time will tell if he succeeds in doing so.