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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 5, 2007

Sweden, Italy mourn loss of legend Liedholm

MILAN, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Former Sweden and AC Milan great Nils Liedholm died in the Italian town of Cuccaro on Monday, aged 85. 'Heaven makes room for Nils Liedholm,' AC Milan said on their website. 'Maestro of irony, a true, irreplaceable soccer champion, a winning, innovative coach. Milan, like the rest of the soccer world, bows to the figure of the great Swede.' Liedholm was a member of the Sweden side that won the 1948 Olympic title and also captained the 1958 World Cup final team which lost to Brazil. The midfielder won four Italian titles in the 1950s with Milan where he was part of the famous 'Gre-No-Li' Swedish trio along with Gunnar Gren and Gunnar Nordahl. Liedholm went on to have a successful coaching career, winning the Serie A crown with Milan in 1979 and AS Roma in 1983. He also led the Rome club to the 1984 European Cup final which they lost to Liverpool on penalties. European champions Milan will wear black armbands during Tuesday's Champions League match at Shakhtar Donetsk in mourning. 'A great of Milan's history has left us,' AC Milan President and former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi told Corriere della Sera. 'He was a champion, a gentleman, a friend. I remember performances in which he didn't make a single mistake. Thank you Nils for all you did for us' Former Brazil player Falcao, part of Roma's 1983 title-winning team, expressed deep sorrow. 'People like him should never pass away,' Falcao said. 'He was like a father to me. He knew how to love with altruism. He taught me so much. I owe him a lot.' Former Italy striker Gianni Rivera, who had Liedholm as a team mate and coach at Milan, paid tribute to the Swede's generosity of spirit: 'I remember that he did everything to put others at ease, both the young and old members of the group. He was the first one to make himself available to others to create the ideal atmosphere.' Liedholm's funeral will take place in Cuccaro on Thursday.

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