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Football | Europe

Eidur Gudjohnsen © Reuters Images

Gudjohnsen joins struggling Bruges



Former Barcelona and Chelsea star Eidur Gudjohnsen loves football, so much so that his passion for the game has taken him to Belgian strugglers Cercle Bruges, who he hopes to save from relegation.

At 34, the Icelandic midfielder has an impressive record behind him and could have played out the remainder of his career in more exotic climes, rather than at a club currently propping up the Belgian league.

He may have played alongside great names of the games such as Lionel Messi, Xavi, Ronaldinho, Didier Drogba, Andres Iniesta and Frank Lampard but Gudjohnsen is happy today with his low profile in Belgium, where he arrived two months ago.

"I had dozens of offers from Asia and even the United States. But I couldn't accept for family reasons. I made a financial sacrifice in signing for Cercle but I like it here. It was a good choice," he said after arriving from AEK Athens.

"In Athens at the end of last season, I broke my fibula. I didn't want to end my career on an injury. I want to end it on the pitch, standing up!" added Gudjohnsen, whose father Arnor played for Anderlecht in the 1980s.

It was in Brussels during his father's time at Belgian's most successful club that the young Eidur kicked his first ball

In many respects, his return to Belgium, even at another club, has closed the circle.

The younger Gudjohnsen spent two season at Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven between 1995 and 1997 before playing for 12 clubs, including English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers

From there, he had a six-season spell at Chelsea between 2000 and 2006, then three at Barcelona until 2009 before heading to Monaco – "a mistake, a club without a soul," he says – and loan spells at Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.

"Even if my career had been cut short by injuries and I never became one of the greats at Barcelona and Chelsea, I'm proud of this journey," said Gudjohnsen, who nevertheless scored 54 goals for the west London side.

"I won titles in the Netherlands, in England and in Spain. I can even put the Champions League on my record (in 2008-2009, although he did not play in the final, which Barcelona won 2-0). It's not bad."

As for what's next, Gudjohnsen, who has scored six times so far this season for Cercle, is considering a coaching career.

"Why not? I was taught by the greatest: Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Dick Advocaat, Pep Guardiola," he said, adding that Mourinho and Guardiola were "way above" the other celebrated managers he has played under.

"How many other players have had that chance? I hope I can be inspired by them in my own way," he added.

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