LEGENDARY football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed his tragic terminal cancer diagnosis came as a big shock after he felt he was “fully healthy”.
After collapsing and suffering a series of strokes the 75-year-old former Three Lions boss was told the heartbreaking that he should aim to “live as long as possible”.
Speaking to earlier today, he said: “I thought I was fully healthy, but suddenly I had a Sportstroke, small strokes, so I fell.
“My children took me to the hospital and after one day of examination, they told me I had five small strokes, but that’s okay, they said, no problem, you recovered 100 per cent from that.
“But the worse thing, they said, is that you have cancer.”
Sven said doctors told him they couldn’t operate on the cancer and would instead give him “treatment and medicine” to help him prolong his already wonderful life.
He continued: “I have that diagnosis and they can’t operate.
“When you get a message like that, I think you appreciate every day and you’re happy when you wake up in the morning and you feel okay so that’s what I’m doing.”
Sven‘s shocking revelation came on Sunday during an interview on Sweden’s P1 .
He spoke about how he suffered a stroke when he collapsed after a 5km run near his Swedish home last year and had to see the doctors.
There he was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer and told he has “a year at best to live”.
He told P1: “Everyone understands that I have an illness that is not good.
“Everyone guesses it’s cancer and it is. But I have to fight as long as I can.”
When asked about the prognosis, Eriksson said he has “maybe at best a year, at worst a little less, or at best maybe even longer”.
Despite knowing about his terminal diagnosis for some time the brave man decided to keep it a secret for a year so he could focus on spending time with his family and friends.
Since February last year he had kept it a private matter even though many had started to grow concerned over his health.
He recently helped to organise a Christmas get-together with his family just in case it was his last.
Lawyer and close pal Anders Runebjer said: “He said nothing about it when we were in the car on the way to the radio station in Karlstad.
“I’m not sure one had even decided then. I don’t know whether it was something he decided right before or during the interview.
“This has been a very difficult thing for Sven and I think he has considered for a long time about when and how to tell about it publicly,” Runebjer told Swedish paper Expressen.
Runebjer said Sven decided to keep his health a secret for so long as it was the best option at the time.
He said: “It has been tough for him. First of all, Sven had to accept himself that he was sick before he could talk about it.
“But now it has matured and he felt he wanted he wanted to share.
“It has been tough and difficult for everyone. Most of all for Sven , of course, but also for those close to him. We have tried to be there and support him as best we can.”
Sven’s last club, Swedish league side Karlstad said they were grateful for Sven’s continuing commitment to the club in spite of his dwindling health.
Despite stepping down from his full-time role last February for undisclosed health reasons, he stayed involved in the club’s work, attending home matches and sponsoring club trips to Italy and Portugal.
Club CEO and sports manager Thomas Andersson told Expresen: “He has not been very active this season.
“He’s been coming to the home games and stuff, so obviously we’ve understood that it hasn’t been great. But he hasn’t had the opportunity to be working.”
“We have had the greatest respect for the fact that Sven has been ill and he himself has had to decide what he wanted to tell and not to tell. We haven’t dug into it that much.”
Eriksson was in charge of the Three Lions’ Golden Generation, taking charge in 2001 and leaving in 2006.
He took England to the quarter-finals in two World Cups and a European.
He won the Portuguese League three times with Benfica and delivered just the second Serie A in Lazio’s history in 1999/2000, earning the nickname “The Iceman” in Italy.
The 70-year-old followed up his European success with the Rome club, winning both the UEFA Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
Sven’s globetrotting achievements made him the first manager to win league-and-cup doubles in three countries.