When Sven-Göran Eriksson led IFK Göteborg to the UEFA Cup title in 1982 he relied on a defender who would become a pivotal figure in Swedish football for the subsequent decade. Unfortunately for Göteborg, not in their colours. Glenn Hysén's exceptional talent meant they had no chance of holding on to him.
Six out of five
Hysén joined PSV Eindhoven then moved on to AC Fiorentina. After a towering performance for Sweden in a 0-0 draw against England at Wembley in 1988, everyone wanted him. Hysén was so good against England Swedish newspapers gave six out of five for his performance. Six was Hysén class, five merely world class.
Liverpool FC won the race for his signature and Hysén established himself alongside Alan Hansen in central defence as they clinched the title in 1990. Glenn's son Tobias was eight at the time, already dreaming of following in his father's footsteps. Fifteen years on, that dream is becoming a reality.
'Pace and technique'
On Monday Tobias Hysén, now 23, won his first Swedish title with Stockholm side Djurgårdens IF. Tobias may be similar in appearance to his father, but on the pitch he couldn't be more different. "Dad's qualities were mainly in defence, mine are more attacking," Hysén junior told uefa.com. "Dad was really good in the air and read the game well. My strengths are more my pace and technique. I must work to become better in the air in the box. Dad was a defender, I'm a winger. It's a totally different position so you fine-tune different skills."
Used primarily on the left of a three-man attack, Tobias was quickly taken to heart by Djurgården's fans, thrilled by his passing range, his intelligent running and instinctive left-foot shot that has already produced nine goals this season. He joined the Swedish champions in 2003 after spells at Lundby IF then BK Häcken, but things could have been different for the Gothenburg-born youngster.
"IFK Göteborg wanted to sign me, but it was never really close. I never spoke to them, but who knows? I was an IFK fan throughout my childhood so of course it would have been interesting. IFK Göteborg runs through the family so moving to Djurgården was a bit special, but in the end it felt right."
Göteborg will regret not pushing harder to sign Hysén, who hurt them badly this season. Five games before the end he scored twice and created the third as Djurgården defeated Göteborg 3-1 away. "It was a decisive moment," he says. "It felt absolutely fantastic.
Playing so well in my home town was great even though Dad probably didn’t know how to feel."
'Onwards and upwards'
Glenn Hysén, now a sports commentator, had mixed emotions. "He played extremely well and I'm happy for him. It's just a shame he had to do it [against Göteborg]," he said. "I'm more happy than disappointed. It's really great for Tobias. He's moved onwards and upwards this season and become more consistent. But I also feel for Göteborg."
The title race went to the penultimate game and to heighten the drama Djurgården clinched the crown in Gothenburg by drawing with Örgryte IS, while Göteborg were defeated by Hammarby in Stockholm. "It's a funny feeling going home to win the title away," Tobias joked. "But with the enormous amount of fans who travelled down to Gothenburg on Monday it almost felt like we were playing at home."
Tobias has been capped twice for Sweden and is knocking on the door for a place in next summer’s FIFA World Cup squad. And with AS Roma said to be considering a move for the youngster, Djurgården may soon face the same difficulty in holding on to a Hysén that Göteborg had all those years ago.
"It would be a dream to play in one of the bigger European leagues, but I’ve told Djurgården not to let me know anything about any contacts before the end of the season. The [Swedish] Cup final is still to be played. After that we'll see what happens.
I'd be very proud to be part of a World Cup squad, but it would be a bonus. I'll just have to work hard and see what happens. If selected it would be the biggest thing to happen to me."
Maybe, but it would not come as a surprise. After all, the Hysén family has been enjoying football success for over two decades and it does not look likely to end any time soon. Indeed new models keep rolling off the production line. Tobias's younger brother Alexander Hysén is showing real promise in the Häcken youth team - as a goalkeeper. The Hyséns really have got all the positions covered.
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