OBITUARY: Nils Liedholm

Nils Liedholm, a legendary figure in both Swedish and Italian soccer, died Monday at the age of 85.

Liedholm helped Sweden win the gold medal in the 1948 Olympics in London -- the first international soccer competition after World War II -- and moved a year later to Italy, where he would spend the rest of his life.

Liedholm played for AC Milan, making 359 appearances for the Rossoneri in 12 seasons, scoring 81 goals and winning four Serie A championships. Liedholm formed the "Li" in the "Gre-no-Li" line -- the celebrated Swedish attacking trio with Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Liedholm that starred for Milan in the 1950s.

Liedholm later moved into coaching -- picking up the nickname "Il Barone" ("The Baron") -- and guided Roma for 12 seasons and Milan for eight, winning Serie A titles -- in 1979 with Milan and in 1983 with Roma. He also coached Fiorentina, Verona, Varese and Monza before retiring in 1997 at the age of 75.

"Milan weeps for the passing of Nils Liedholm," Milan said in a statement. "With him goes an enormous piece of Milan's history. But his memory will remain permanently in the heart of all Milan supporters and fans of soccer."

A funeral will take place in Cuccaro Monferrato, the village in the northern Italian province of Alessandria where he died.

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