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The Sweden playmaker has had a glittering career in Ligue 1 over the years, but will be disappointed that the clash with Laurent Blanc's men doesn't carry more importance

 Svend Bertil Frandsen
 Sweden Expert Follow on

For every member of the Sweden squad, the failure to make it beyond the group stage of the European Championship will have been a huge blow to their international ambitions. But for one player in particular, the fact that Sweden's two early defeats caused the last group match against France to be virtually meaningless will be extra bitter.

Ever since Kim Kallstrom joined Stade Rennais in January 2004, after making a name for himself at Djurgardens IF, the French public have been treated to the delight of watching his playmaking skills, keen eye for the game and his fierce left-footed drive.

Consequently, Kallstrom would doubtlessly have relished the chance to prove himself against French rivals and team-mates in a game that had more significance for his home country than Tuesday's clash.

As for his love-affair with France, Kallstrom had little trouble adjusting to the higher expectations and the intense pressure of playing in Ligue 1 from the start and 20 goals in three seasons in Brittany took his already blossoming reputation to new heights.

He certainly had no shortage of admirers at the end of another impressive campaign in 2005-06 but had already made up his mind who to join when he after the World Cup in 2006 decided to accept a lucrative offer from Olympique Lyonnais.

KALLSTROM'S CAREER
Team

Hacken
(1999-01)

Djurgarden (2001-03)

Rennes
(2004-06)

Lyon
(2006-)

Sweden U-21
(2000-03)

Sweden
(2001-)
Games

75


65


97


217


21


94

Goals

16


31


22


19


5


16

It turned out to be the right decision. He immediately helped the club to retain the title the year after joining and was an even more prominent figure the year after missing just one league game as Les Gones retained the championship and lifted the Coupe de France. In 2009-10 he starred in each of Lyon's Champions League matches – apart for the semi-final second-leg loss to FC Bayern Munich – as they reached the last four.

While no one can doubt his enormous potential in central midfield, the articulate and easy-tempered Kallstrom has been forced to accept a less prolific role hidden away from the front-pages of the newspapers while Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to overshadow everyone in the Swedish squad.

It is not really that long ago that the congestion of midfield stars at Lyon cleared somewhat up, leaving space for Kim Kallstrom to finally claim a bit of that recognition that his talent has always beckoned.

It seems a bit ironic that Kallstrom's time at Lyon finally seems to be coming to an end with Rubin Kazan expected to lure the Swedish midfielder to Tatarstan. When asked during a press conference on Monday about the prospect of moving to Russia or Ukraine, Kallstrom replied: "That's always a possibility. The world of football is changing a bit."

While Kallstrom does not possess the same aura of arrogance as Ibrahimovic, he is certainly a big star with the media, and has established a reputation for never being afraid of voicing his opinion. Therefore it was no surprise when Kallstrom heavily criticized Laurent Blanc's choice of Lyon team-mate Hugo Lloris captain, and added that France were not as frightening as they used to be in the lead-up to Euro 2012.

Kallstrom, though, still feels that the French have the ability to win the whole thing. His only regret is, however, undoubtedly, that he has had to prepare for his first game in a final tournament against his adopted home country without a great deal more at stake.

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