Soccer Stud

7.21.2004

By Brendan Lemon

Swedish soccer player Freddie Ljungberg has proved to be so popular as the face of Calvin Klein underwear that the company has just renewed his contract: New ads will appear in November. The midfielder for Arsenal team in the British Premier League was born in Vittsjo, Sweden, in 1977 and was named the league's Player of the Year in England in 2002. Slight and quick, the straight bachelor-athlete showed up for Out's photo shoot in New York not long after a red-eye flight from San Francisco. Revived by coffee, he answered our questions readily.

1 Give us a typical day in your life.

If it's a training day, I wake up around 10, I train, have a physical treatment if needed. I get home at around 3. I socialize, lounge around. I'm a lousy cook, so I rely on others for food. If it's a game day'we usually have three games a week'then I wake up at 10, stretch, have dinner. Then there's the game. Afterward I'm exhausted but full of adrenaline. I don't go to sleep before 2.

2 Do you party much?

We have a French coach, who's pretty strict. We stay in a hotel the day before a game, precisely to keep us to a strict regimen.

3 In most of the world you're recognized for being a soccer player. In the United States you're recognized for being an underwear model. Which do you prefer?

It's nice to be in America because I'm not recognized as much. Being here is like having a break from myself.

4 Has any weird stuff happened because of the underwear celebrity?

Mostly, I was honored to be asked by Calvin Klein. I was worried about how being on a billboard in Times Square for several months would affect my image. But the impact has been overwhelmingly positive. The most unusual response is probably that people are always asking me to sign their underwear for them.

5 Men too?

Of course'a lot of men wear the things!

6 Are they straight or gay?

Both, I'm sure. I usually don't ask someone who requests an autograph, 'Do you like boys or girls?'

7 Do guys ever say, 'Could you sign this underwear for my girlfriend?'

Sure.

8 Isn't that a tip-off?

Yeah. Especially when the shorts they're asking me to sign are men's briefs.

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