Lennart Skoglund

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Lennart Skoglund
Skoglund.jpg
Personal information
Full name Karl Lennart Skoglund
Date of birth (1929-12-24)24 December 1929
Place of birth Stockholm, Sweden
Date of death 8 July 1975(1975-07-08) (aged 45)
Place of death Stockholm, Sweden
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Left Winger
Youth career
1943–1944 IK Stjärnan
1944 Sport-Ham
1944–1946 Hammarby IF
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1946–1949 Hammarby IF 57[1] (21)
1949–1950 AIK 5[1] (0)
1950–1959 Internazionale 241 (55)
1959–1962 Sampdoria 78 (15)
1962–1963 Palermo 6 (0)
1964–1967 Hammarby IF 56[1] (7)
1968 Kärrtorps IK 6 (2)
National team
1950–1964 Sweden 11 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Karl Lennart "Nacka" Skoglund (24 December 1929 – 8 July 1975) was a Swedish footballer. One of the most renowned Swedish players, Skoglund was particularly known for his dribbling.

Biography[edit]

Nicknamed throughout his career as Nacka (after his older brother who played for Nacka FF), Lennart Skoglund was a star of two Swedish World Cup sides in the 1950s. First as a young inside-left in 1950 and then as a mature left winger on home soil in 1958. He started at a local club called IK Stjärnan in 1943 before moving on to his favoured club Hammarby the following year. He played for Hammarby between 1944 and 1949.[2] In 1950 he was controversially sold to rivals AIK due to the sad financial situation of the club. He soon made his first appearance for the national and made a great impact in the World Cup held in Brazil. He formed a great partnership with Karl-Erik Palmér as Sweden finished third, and he also earned a new nickname: "The swaying corn-cob", a reference to his blond hair and his running style.

During the World Cup, São Paulo FC offered US$10,000 for him, but the price was considered low by the AIK principal who was monitoring Sweden team. In less than one month, Nacka was sold to Internazionale by five times that value.[3] In Inter, he had huge success helping them win the Serie A title twice in the 1953 and 1954. In all, he played 246 matches with Internazionale, scoring 57 goals.

His fine ball-control, excellent left foot and fine distribution made him a big favourite with the fans. Sweden failed to qualify to the 1954 World Cup because they would not recall exiles like Nacka, hence his few caps, but when the Swedes played host to the 1958 tournament, they had a change of heart and Skoglund appeared in all Sweden’s games as they finished runners-up to Brazil. In the semifinal against West Germany, Nacka scored his first and only goal for Sweden in the 3–1 win which set them up for the classic final against Brazil.

He was a true entertainer living to please the crowds, wherever he plied his trade. Nutmegs, back-heels and mazy turns always kept his opponents guessing and mostly in the wrong direction.

After 13 years as a pro in Italy, where he also played for Sampdoria and Palermo, he returned to his native Södermalm and Hammarby in 1964. Within minutes into his first match with the team, he curled a corner kick to score a goal.[2]

Nacka also had two footballing sons, both born in Milano, Georg and Evert; Evert played 16 matches with Internazionale, and the brother Georg some matches with A.C. Milan. Both later played for Hammarby.

During his summer breaks in Sweden he used to tour around amusement-parks in Sweden, singing and doing his famed "Two-Crown"-stint where he would actually drop a coin and kick it into his shirt pocket.

He died a desolate and broken man in 1975. But in 1984, a statue was raised in his honour outside his childhood home at Katarina Bangata. Every 24 December, hundreds of people gather at the statue to celebrate the memory of Nacka. This is also the day when Swedes celebrate Christmas, so it's quite an emotional thing for the people who have come there every year since 1984. It's mainly supporters of Hammarby who come there, but every now and then supporters from the other clubs were Nacka played show up. The square where the statue is located is now officially named "Nackas Hörna" (Nacka's corner) – a play with words as he shot a corner kick straight into the goal in his comeback for Hammarby after coming back from Italy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Lennart Nacka Skoglund". Borjedorch.se. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b http://espnfc.com/columns/story/_/id/1147572/the-mavericks:-lennart-'nacka'-skoglund?cc=5901
  3. ^ "Sucesso e debandada", Max Gehringer, Especial Placar: A Saga da Jules Rimet fascículo 4 – 1950 Brasil, November 2005, Editora Abril, pg. 37