UTD Podcast: How injury ruined Blomqvist's career
Jesper Blomqvist admits his career was blighted by injury in a detailed discussion on the latest UTD Podcast.
The Swede was part of the Treble-winning squad in 1999 but his start on the left flank in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich proved to be his last for the Reds.
It is something that fills the former winger with regret but he was philosophical about the past, when telling his tale to presenters Sam Homewood, Helen Evans and David May.
“I would have definitely cried if I would have known that [the game at the Nou Camp would be his last for United]," he told the UTD Podcast.
“It was a knee injury. The knee started to swell up. It wasn’t really something that happened, it just stated to swell up and it never really got better. I kept on training and trying but it was just ballooning up after every session and, after a couple of weeks, I had my first surgery.
“That’s my mixed emotions when I look back at my career because I can see what you say, that a lot of players would change to have my career or win all the trophies, but on the other hand I played my last real last competitive game when I was 24 or 25. And I had at least 10 years still to give. And, yeah, that’s mixed emotions for me really.”
Jesper eventually left Old Trafford in 2001 for short spells with Everton and Charlton Athletic, before returning to Sweden.
United reached the final in 1999 after a wonderful fightback against Juventus at the last-four stage. The 3-2 triumph in Turin is also remembered for Roy Keane's yellow card, and subsequent performance, when knowing he would miss out on Barcelona due to suspension.
Blomqvist's misplaced pass led to Keane's late challenge on Zinedine Zidane and the Scandinavian was asked if he recalled the verbal exchange that followed with the Irishman. "Yeah, I do," he replied. "He was really angry and upset. That still hurts in my heart."
Keane, and the team, both had a natural aggression that was difficult for Blomqvist to initially accept when he joined the club from Parma.
“That took me like a year to realise and understand how it worked because it’s so opposite to the Swedish way of trying to help each other and be positive,” he admitted. “It took me a year to understand that but, after that, I started to realise he was also doing it for the best of the team in the end, to help the team.
“But, for me, in the beginning, it was like ‘why, why all this shouting’? It just destroys you. But then you understand if you can handle that, all that shouting and reacting, in the right way you’re going to be a better player and a better team.”
Download the full Jesper Blomqvist episode on Deezer.
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