Pernille Harder and Magdalena Eriksson: Chelsea is a strong couple when it comes to life in London and inspires others.
Chelsea’s Magdalena Eriksson and Pernille Harder are teammates, partners and some of the best players in Europe.
Together they have won numerous trophies, collected more than 160 international caps, played in the finals of the Olympic Games, in Europe and in the Champions League – not to mention the individual prizes.
In this in-depth interview on Radio 5, Ericsson and Harder talk live about their relationship on and off the field, an image that has become viral, a role model and a dream to reach the top.
When this table went viral
Ericsson is a Swedish international, while Harder has more than 100 international matches for Denmark.
After the Ericsson defender helped her country beat Sweden against Canada at the last 16 women’s world championships in France a year ago, she found Harder of Denmark in the stands and kissed her.
The natural moment was captured by the photographer, after which the image spread through social networks. Since then, this couple has become a famous figure in women’s football among homosexual couples.
That was never our intention, Mr. Eriksson said. We were open from the beginning, we were ourselves and we had a successful career. That’s how it ends.
We are now thinking more consciously about being a role model because we feel that we have a responsibility to be who we are and to show you that you can be who you are.
Justin Fashanu, a former Norwich and Nottingham Woods striker, was the first English pro to come out of the closet in 1990 when he was still gay, and he is the only male player to have done so during his professional career in the higher ranks.
Ericsson and Harder both think it will be some time before other male players show up during the game.
I don’t think we’re nearly there yet, Mr. Harder said. But I hope we go in that direction in the future. It’s just that the first person to do it is the most important.
Ericsson added: The culture doesn’t accept men’s football enough. Going outside is not an individual responsibility, but a collective responsibility to make the environment as safe as possible for someone brave enough to do so.
Chelsea was perfect for the more difficult.
Magda, as his teammates call Ericsson, is captain of Chelsea and has recently signed a contract to extend his contract until 2023.
Harder, who jokes that she’s also captain at home, says it’s a plus to be able to play with Ericsson after she became the most expensive signing in women’s football history when she moved from Wolfsburg to Chelsea last summer.
It wasn’t a difficult decision [for Chelsea]. I thought it was time to try something new. Magda plays here, which of course was a plus, but that’s not what got me here, Harder said.
The fact that I am in the same country and play together here at Chelsea makes me very happy of course, not only because she is my partner, but also because she is a very good soccer player and a great leader.
Ericsson said Chelsea was perfect for Harder, and that she didn’t have to convince her to join him.
Chelsea has proven that we are one of the best teams in the English league and last season we won the championship, she added. Pernille wants to play for teams that win, win trophies and have great ambitions.
Without doubt it is one of the bestWithout doubt it is one of the best
Striker Harder helped Wolfsburg win four straight German championships and a double trophy before moving to Chelsea last summer.
She led her country’s bid for the final of the EURO 2017 women’s championship and was Uefa’s player of the year in 2018 and 2020.
So Ericsson believes that his talented teammate and partner can be or already is the best player in the world?
Being the best football player in the world is a subjective opinion, and that’s what you rely on, according to Ericsson. I have no doubt she’s one of the best in the world.
The biggest thing for me is her mentality, always wanting to be the best in everything she does. These are the kind of characters I need on my team. I’ve always chosen them.
Harder said it was my dream to be the best after writing an essay on how to become a professional football player at the age of 10.
Being the best in the world is something you have to earn over time. It’s not for one season. I’m working on it, she said.