The Swedish winner was part of the iconic Arsenal team that went through the entire 2003-04 Premier League season unbeaten, while Ljungberg also lifted the title in 2002.
While Arsene Wenger’s side were wowing crowds in England they struggled to replicate that level in Europe, not going beyond the Champions League quarter-finals from 2001-05
Arsenal did reach the Champions League final in 2006 where they were beaten by Barcelona and not getting his hands on Europe’s biggest trophy is still bothering Ljungberg, who played in that final defeat in Paris.
Sky Sports’ pundit Jamie Carragher suggested to Ljungberg that his Arsenal team is the best not to have won the Champions League, with the Swede replying: ‘It’s kind of you to say in one way, but I agree, it’s the biggest regret in my life, I really hate I haven’t won the Champions League and I’m still angry about it to this day.
‘When you get older, you meet old players you played against at Real Madrid or Barcelona or whatever and often they say, “I can’t believe the team you had and didn’t win the Champions League.” I can’t explain why because we had a great team.
‘The only thing that happened when we went to the Champions League final and we changed the system and played 4-3-3, protected the centre a bit more. But then we got a sending off for Jens [Lehmann] after 20 minutes.
‘That’s the only change we did in the final, but I can tell you that it still eats at me today. I feel very disappointed but it’s our responsibility as players, we were not good enough, we didn’t do well enough. But when you looked at it, you felt we should win this.’
Wenger has admitted that the Champions League final loss to Barcelona remains a big regret for him, feeling aggrieved by the red card for his goalkeeper so early on.
‘It remains a regret – a big regret, especially when we were so close,’ Wenger told FourFourTwo. ‘We were 30 minutes away.
‘My biggest regret is that we had to play with 10 men. You go into the final, and you haven’t conceded a goal against Real Madrid with Zidane, Beckham and Ronaldo, or Juventus with Ibrahimovic and Trezeguet. Then suddenly, after just 10 minutes, you have to play with one man less.
‘It was hard to swallow and it still is today – but it’s part of life.’
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