Former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has said his terminal cancer diagnosis came as a “shock” – but vowed to fight against it and not “give up”.
He said the alternative was to sit alone at home – and although he and his family have accepted the inevitable, they are dealing with the news and talk every day.
The 75-year-old Swede was told by doctors he has pancreatic cancer and has “at best a year to live”.
“In the beginning it was very difficult to accept it, but once you accept it life goes on, and life has to go on,” Eriksson told TalkTV on Friday.
He was given the news after collapsing and fainting following a 5km run the day before. His children took him to a hospital and after four hours of tests he was given the diagnosis.
“I felt totally well – it came like a very, very, very big surprise,” he said.
“When you get a message like that it’s like a shock because I was fully fit, and rather fit as well in training. It came from nowhere.”
He continued: “Of course you feel very bad… but you have to fight against it, and that’s what I am trying to do at least.”
The cancer is inoperable so he is now on medication to slow down its progression, but it has spread, he said.
“But sooner or later it will happen. Let’s hope later than sooner,” he continued.
Asked how his family had dealt with the news, he said: “We have to deal with it because the alternative is to give up, and sitting alone at home.
“So, the whole family, the children, they are grown up of course – one lives in Spain, one lives in Stockholm – so they are coming as often as they can, and we talk every day.”
After being diagnosed with cancer, Eriksson disclosed he had suffered “five strokes in one day – small ones”.
The former Manchester City and Leicester manager told Swedish Radio P1: “I’m not in any major pain. But I’ve been diagnosed with a disease that you can slow down but you cannot operate. So it is what it is.”
Between 2001 and 2006, Eriksson coached the so-called “golden generation” of footballers in the England men’s team including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.
He led England to three consecutive quarter-finals at major tournaments and was manager in one of their most famous results, a 5-1 win over Germany in Munich in September 2001.
His last coaching role was with the Philippines’ national team in 2018-19.
Eriksson resigned as sporting director at Swedish club Karlstad Football 11 months ago due to health issues.
He said he still watches an “incredible amount” of football and remains in contact with Karlstad – who are in the third tier of the Swedish league system.
Eriksson said: “Football has been like a poison for me. A good poison.
“My divorce many years ago was partly due to the football. My wife at the time wanted me to get a job where we could live more spontaneously and be free some Saturdays or Sundays. But I couldn’t imagine that.
“I would never have changed that decision [to make football my life] if I had got to live again.”