Swedish star Freddie Ljunberg believes that after spending 10 seasons in the Barclays Premier League, his decision to play in the Major League Soccer was one that led to a passion for learning about new cultures.
Ljunberg made his MLS debut with the Seattle Sounders in the 2009-10 campaign and went on to play for Chicago Fire as well before returning to Britain with Scottish giants Celtic last year.
However, such was the impact of playing in a new continent on him that the veteran midfielder also tried out Japanese football last season.
Now a free agent, Ljunberg is not even sure if he will carry on playing by the time he makes a decision on his future next month but when it comes to experiences such as the MLS, the former Arsenal star insists that household European names can get more out of such an experiment than just calling it their ‘retirement home’.
“When I went to America, it was a big thing to learn about cultures and other people. That’s what I’ve been doing since leaving Arsenal – I’ve been to America and Japan and the experience has been amazing,” Ljunberg was quoted in a recent interview at Arsenal.com.
The 35-year old added: “You gain a lot and it’s important to me to learn from different people.”
Perhaps Ljunberg’s inspiration behind learning more about cultural diversity began under former Arsenal assistant coach Pat Rice, who the Swede speaks very highly of.
“Pat played a big part in incorporating a French culture into an English one and making it work perfectly,” Ljunberg emphasized.
Ljunberg’s endorsement of MLS comes only days after that of former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who has chosen to play for Chinese Super League’s Shanghai Shenhua despite significant interest from North America.