In a career that spanned four decades, Sven-Goran Eriksson became one of the most decorated coaches in football history, plying his trade in his native Sweden, Italy, England, and a few other countries around the world.

Unfortunately, the 76-year-old revealed in January that he has pancreatic cancer, and he has been told that he has less than a year to live. Many figures in football sent well wishes for Sven, and he has spent recent months paying final visits to some of his former clubs, including Sampdoria and Lazio in Italy.

Everywhere Sven has gone since, he’s been welcomed with open arms and shown the affection of his former clubs’ fans in the process.

Eriksson was invited to attended Sampdoria’s match against Reggiana on Serie B Matchday 37, which the Blucerchiati eventually won 1-0, giving supporters and former players a chance to show their support.

Former Sampdoria coach Sven-Goran Eriksson with current president Matteo Manfredi and club legend Roberto Mancini. (Photo: U.C. Sampdoria Facebook.)

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s career: History at IFK Goteborg before heading overseas

After an uneventful playing career cut short by injury, Eriksson became a coach in his late 20s and his made his career breakthrough at IFK Goteborg, where he won the 1981/82 UEFA Cup. This attracted clubs from abroad, going on to coach Portuguese giants Benfica in two different spells, and he later took charge of four different clubs in Italy.

He finished second with AS Roma in the 1985/86 Serie A season, and earned UEFA Cup qualification with Fiorentina in 1988/89. That Viola side featured a young Roberto Baggio.

His longest stint in Italy was with Sampdoria from 1992 to 1997, winning the 1993/94 Coppa Italia – the last trophy Il Doria have won to date – and taking them to the European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finals in the following season.

Sven-Goran Eriksson with Sampdoria. (@sampdoria)

But Sven is best known in Italy for his time at Lazio between 1997 and 2001. There, he won the 1997/98 Coppa Italia, the 1998/99 European Cup Winner’s Cup, and both Serie A and the Coppa Italia for a domestic double in 1999/2000.

Afterwards, he coached three national teams including the England Men’s National Team, two Premier League clubs, and three club sides in China before retiring in 2019. In March, he was brought out of retirement to coach the Liverpool Legends team in a friendly against the Ajax Legends, fulfilling a dream to coach the Reds – the club he had supported as a boy.

Sampdoria fans and former players pay tribute to ‘Svennis’

A host of former players were in attendance for the Sampdoria vs Reggiana match including a few household names such as Atilio Lombardo, Roberto Mancini, Enrico Chiesa, and Clarence Seedorf.

Sven-Goran Eriksson and Clarence Seedorf reuniting at Sampdoria. (@sampdoria)

Eriksson was given a guard of honour by his former players, and the 1994 Coppa Italia trophy was also brought out. A banner from the fans in Sampdoria’s Gradinata Sud read, “We will support you in this battle too. Welcome back to Genova, Coach Eriksson!”

Sven said on Sampdoria‘s YouTube channel: “Before the match it was beautiful, I was crying. I will carry these memories with me for the rest of my life. I was here for five years, five happy years. We did not win a lot, but we had a very strong squad that played beautiful football.”

Lazio also paid tribute to Sven-Goran Eriksson

Eriksson was also in attendance for Lazio’s 1-1 draw with Sassuolo on Serie A Matchday 38. He was presented to the fans with club mascot, Olimpia the eagle, beside him.

The Lazio fans provided a banner of their own which said, “The Lazio supporters love you and will fight by your side.”

Sven-Goran Eriksson back at Lazio. (@OfficialSSLazio)

Eriksson thanked the Lazio fans after the game, via TMW: “Thank you very much for everything, it’s great to see so many people. I remember very good years, I had a great time. I never had such a strong team and I never won so many titles. It’s a memory for life. Thank you for the invitation and best wishes today. Thank you all.”

After all these years, Sven-Goran Eriksson is remembered for his incredible victories, especially at clubs where he was a part of their golden years. The 76-year-old is a charmingly warm polyglot who earned the respect of his players and supporters of those clubs are forever grateful.

In short, he is considered by many to be a great coach but, more importantly, a great person.

In this battle, Sven is not alone.