Swedish stalwart Kim Kallstrom calls time on playing career

Fri, Dec 15 2017

Kallstrom (right) was part of the Sweden side that drew 1-1 with the Republic of Ireland in their opening Euro 2016 game. Credit: Al Robinson

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Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom has called time on an 18-year playing career that's taken him to France, England, Russia and Switzerland.

 

Kallstrom announced the news at a joint press conference in Stockholm with Djurgardens manager Bosse Andersson on Friday morning.

 

The 35-year-old returned to the Swedish top-flight side at the beginning of the 2017 season on a two-year deal but has agreed with the club to terminate it at the halfway point.

 

Kallstrom has enjoyed a long and varied career that has included stints with some of Europe's top clubs, including Arsenal and Lyon.

 

He was capped 131 times for his country between 2001 and 2015, scoring 16 goals, and played at one World Cup and three European Championsships.

 

“Djurgården and I have called this press conference because I intend to announce that I will finish my career as a football player,” an emotional Kallstrom told reporters.

 

“[It was] a big decision. I have had a long and nice career. I'm proud and happy. I've experienced a lot. I'm sitting here a grateful man today.

 

“It is a privilege to be able to make this decision. I feel I'm done – I've done what I've been able to do on a football field.

 

“I still think it's fun to play matches on the weekend. But to get there, you have to do a job and I feel that I lack that power.”

 

He began his career in Sweden with BK Hacken – whom Irish fans will know from their defeat to Cork City in last season's Europa League qualifier – in 2000.

 

Following Hacken's relegation to the Superettan the following year, Kallstrom embarked on his first stint with Djurgarden.

 

It was with the Stockholm-based club that he made his name, winning two Allsvenskan titles and excelling in Europe where he scored in a 3-1 UEFA Cup win over Shamrock Rovers at Tolka Park.

 

2004 saw him move to Stade Rennais in France, and from there to Lyon, where he would enjoy his most successful spell, winning Ligue 1 twice and competing regularly in the Champions League.

 

He moved to Russia and Spartak Moscow in 2012, and spent the second half of the 2013-14 season on loan with Arsenal in the Premier League and winning an FA Cup medal.

 

Following the conclusion of his contract with Spartak, he spent 18 months with Grasshopper of Zurich before returning to Djurgarden.