Olof Mellberg has retired and will go down in history as one of the greatest and most beloved Aston Villa players of all time. But his impact was felt far and wide outside of Birmingham, as evidenced by what Zlatan Ibrahimovic had to say about the defender:
Zlatan not only praises Mellberg as a player but also as a person. "I've been doubly lucky when it comes to Olof," he writes:
"Firstly because I got to play with him, and secondly because I got to know the person Olof Mellberg, not only the player.
If Olof in my opinion is the best Swedish defender of all times, I think the person Olof is even better."
Pretty incredible to see such high praise from a player who is unquestionably one of the best in the world right now.
But for as nice as Ibrahimovic's words are, the best tribute I've read to Mellberg thus far has come from Chris Nee. If you don't know Nee, you can find him hosting the superb Aston Villa Review podcast, but he's also an excellent writer. Towards the end of his piece on Olof, Nee writes that "Mellberg was a constant. Mellberg was the constant, a boundlessly popular player of quality and substance, and my experience of the game was better for his involvement."
And that seems to be the sentiment everywhere. Make sure you go and read Nee's piece, though. It sums up, better than anything else I've read, what Mellberg meant to Villa fans.