Freddie Ljungberg has promised to do justice to Celtic's iconic number seven shirt after completing his move to the Scottish Premier League club. Former Arsenal midfielder Ljungberg has joined The Hoops until the end of the season after leaving Seattle Sounders at the end of his Major League Soccer contract.
The 33-year-old, who could make his debut in Sunday's Old Firm derby against Rangers, has been handed the number seven shirt previously worn by Celtic legends Henrik Larsson, Kenny Dalglish and Jimmy Johnstone and is keen to live up to their reputations.
"When I was at Arsenal I had Ian Wright's number and he was a legend there. I'll try to do the same here with the number seven shirt - to wear it with pride and do my best," Ljungberg said today.
Ljungberg admitted he was delighted to return to European football following his American adventure. "In America the league is much better than it gets credit for but Celtic are a massive club and what I missed the most in America was the passion for the sport," he said.
"If you're looking for passion then it's here. There is great support. The fans and the passion are very good here and it's a great team. Celtic is a very big club with great management staff too."
Old Firm debut looms
Hoops boss Neil Lennon will assess Ljungberg's fitness before deciding whether to play him against Glasgow rivals Rangers. "It's a tough question because he hasn't played much football since October but obviously he's still in great condition and he's come through the medical, which is quite stringent here, with no problems at all. He is in contention," Lennon said.
Celtic are one point clear of second placed Rangers at the top of the table, but Walter Smith's reigning champions have two games in hand, making Sunday's game a crucial clash for the Hoops. With Olivier Kapo and Daryl Murphy both injured, Lennon may decide that Ljungberg's experience makes it worth taking a gamble on his fitness.
Lennon said: "My only concern is that Freddie hasn't played a lot of football since October, he hasn't played any. I don't want to bring him in and then he breaks down because he has that lack of football or training. But there is a huge temptation because he is a quality player.
"Kapo tweaked a hamstring, it could be two or three weeks and Daryl is a strange one. At first it looked like an Achilles but it could be a lower calf strain."