The Swedish gamble

Lennart Skoglund SCROLL TO READ STORIA N.60 / 110

20-years-old, delicate and obviously blond, just like any proper Swede. Lennart Skoglund arrived in Milan in 1950 and immediately became known ‘Nacka’ after his home neighbourhood in Stockholm. He had an emotional relationship with the ball, they simply understand one another. He also got along with his teammates Benito Lorenzi and István Nyers, as the three of them built an explosive attacking trident.

It was the time of the “Milano da bere”, the swinging city, when people wanted to put the recent war behind them and enjoy themselves. It was a dangerous place too, one which could tempt fragile characters like Nacka and lead them astray. But if his personality had a dark side, it didn’t show on the pitch. Skoglund, won two consecutive Scudetti in 1953 and 1954, and he was described as a technically gifted player, with great dribbling and two quick feet. He was quick and precise and knew how to show it through a special bet that he never lost. People said that he could juggle a 100 Lire coin, with his right heel first, then with his left one before flicking it into his jacket pocket.

He would never look at the ball, he would just carry it. He would look at his opponent in the eyes and easily dribble past him.

He played his last game for Inter in 1959, against Bari. Simply put, he died too young, at just 45 in 1975. But, the black and blue half of Milan never forgot about him. There is a bar in via Lorenteggio which still carries his name. It belongs to his sons Evert and Giorgio. On the wall, an enlarged black and white photo still reminds everybody of who Lennart ‘Nacka’ Skoglund was.

Lennart Skoglund

Karl Lennart Skoglund (Stockholm, 24 December 1929 – Stockholm, 8 July 1975) signed for Inter in 1950 from Aik Solna. He played 246 games for Inter, scoring 57 goals and winning two Scudetti in 1952-53 and 1953-54. In 1959 he moved to Sampdoria. He finished as a runner-up with Sweden at the 1958 World Cup, losing in the final against Brazil. He collected 11 caps for Sweden, scoring one goal against West Germany in the 1958 World Cup semi-final. He passed away in Stockholm in 1975 at the age of 45. Skoglund had two children, Evert and Giorgio, from his wife Nuccia Zirilli.