A World Cup third place with Sweden in 1994, a vital part of Manchester United’s treble winning side of 1999, but whatever happened to Jesper Blomqvist?
Starting his youth career with hometown side Tavelsjö IK, he was very quickly snapped up by Umeå who were in the second tier of Swedish football. His performances for Umeå caught the eye of IFK Göteborg who signed Blomqvist on 11th September 1993. This was the big break that Blomqvist waited for and he grabbed it with both hands.
Scoring in a 3–1 win over Manchester United in the Champions League, knocking them out of the competition. This performance caught the eye of United manager Alex Ferguson. Winning four consecutive Allsvenskan (Swedish Championships) with IFK Göteborg, goal of the season for a goal against Helsingborgs, midfielder of year in Sweden and fans’ player of the year in 1996. He was then bought by AC Milan who were champions of Italy.
In his only season with Milan they finished 11th in Serie A and failed to qualify for Europe, during this season Blomqvist spent most his time on the bench, despite Manchester United trying to sign the player, Milan refused to sell but surprisingly he was later transferred to Parma. His reason for leaving was the search for first team football. After a relatively successful season with Parma Sir Alex Ferguson eventually snapped him up for £4.4 million.
Commenting on the signing, Sir Alex said, “Looking back I should have tried harder to bring cover for Ryan Giggs on the left side. I did try to buy Blomqvist from AC Milan but they wouldn’t sell him. They eventually let him go and perhaps I should have pushed them harder.”
Essentially at Manchester United for three years, he only played in his first; the magnificent 1999 treble winning season. He was bought as cover for Ryan Giggs on the left wing, and managed to play 25 games for the club scoring only one goal, against Everton in a 4-1 victory. He also started in the 1999 Champions League Final eventually making way for Teddy Sheringham who went on to score the equalizing goal. But this was his last game for the club as a serious knee injury prevented him making any more appearances.
Two years after this final United released him and Everton manager Walter Smith snapped him up on the recommendation of Sir Alex Ferguson. Only 15 games were managed as injuries ravaged his career and new Everton manager released him in June 2002 only to sign for Charlton Athletic with whom he managed four appearances.
A return to Sweden came when he signed for Djurgårdens IF; Blomqvist played a part as the side became Swedish champions that year. Injury problems, however, restricted him to only nine league appearances. As with Manchester Unied he stayed at the club for two years without kicking a ball, before eventually announcing his retirement in 2005.
Blomqvist joined Enköpings SK as a coach in 2008 and has since made a playing return in the Superettan, the second tier of Swedish football. Ironically, a shortage of players at the club due to injury forced Blomqvist’s playing return. He left Enköping after one season and later signed a contract with newly relegated Hammarby IF as assistant manager.
After officially retiring in 2005, he became a pundit for Swedish television station TV4. He also owns a nightclub in Stockholm.
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