Ljungberg replaces Olof Mellberg, who quit on Sunday after four years at the top. Henrik Larsson, who has been vice-captain under Mellberg, also recently announced his departure from international soccer. He is to be replaced by Tobias Linderoth.
“Decisions like that can only be respected,” said coach Lars Lagerbäck as he announced the new captain.
“I am convinced that I am presenting two good choices,” he said.
Ljungberg’s active role as team captain won’t start immediately: an ankle injury means the star will be missing from the line-up when Sweden plays Germany in a friendly in Gelsenkirchen on August 16th.
Whether Mellberg offers the new captain some friendly advice remains to be seen. The pair have had two well-publicised run-ins, including one just before this summer’s World Cup in Germany.
The 29-year old Ljungberg is currently Arsenal’s longest-serving player, having played for the London club since 1998. His playing career started in his home town of Halmstad, south-eastern Sweden.