Arsenal legend and Mumbai City FC marquee player Freddie Ljungberg will join his 'Invincibles' teammate Robert Pires in the inaugural edition of the eight-franchise Indian Super League (ISL).
Mumbai City FC's marquee player Freddie Ljungberg gets treatment on his calf after suffering a cramp during a training session at Cooperage yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
However, Ljungberg says he took the decision to join the ambitious league without consulting his former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, unlike Pires who revealed earlier that Wenger's backing was crucial behind him signing up for the league.
"I work for Arsenal football club as an ambassador so I see him (Wenger) regularly. We're friends. (But) I didn't ask for his opinion (before joining this league).
"I believe I have a very good feel of what the league will be like and there was nothing that Arsene could have said yes or no to," Ljungberg told reporters after participating in a training session for Mumbai City FC at Cooperage yesterday.
Ljungberg added that the opportunity to inspire youngsters through the ISL was irresistible enough to bring him out of retirement.
"They (ISL organisers) contacted me when I was in England. They said in India a lot of young people want to play football but it is very difficult to find the facilities to train, there is not so much room and not many football pitches.
"They asked if I could come and inspire youngsters. Even if I don't play in the Premiership now, at one stage I won titles and maybe I can inspire younger players (in India)," said Ljungberg before adding that his Indian sojourn would be different from his stint in Japan (2011-12) with Shimizu S-Pulse.
"I went to Japan because there was a tsunami there and they had asked me to come and help the Japanese people to play. I was in Japan for six months. "But this is a totally different thing. I'm here to try and promote the game," he said.