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Swedish legend Lotta Schelin announces retirement due to ongoing pain

Legendary Swedish striker Lotta Schelin announced her retirement on Thursday, citing chronic neck and head pain.

The 34-year-old is Sweden’s all-time leading scorer with 88 goals in 185 matches. She was a three-time UEFA Champions League winner with Lyon, where she played from 2008-2016.

“It has been a tough year,” Schelin said at a press conference in Gothenburg, where she began her professional career.

Schelin initially suffered an injury last year in a match with FC Rosengard, and that has led to ongoing neck problems for the Swede. She tried to play through them, with World Cup qualifying nearly complete and Sweden battling Denmark for the automatic spot out of Group 4 in Europe. Next year’s World Cup would have been Schelin’s fourth.

“The risk is far too big for me to go back to a football field again,” Schelin said.

“I’ve been a little empty the last few days and I thought it was hard,” she continued. Therese Sjogran, a former teammate of Schelin’s and now the sporting director at FC Rosengard, joined Schelin for the press conference and offered encouragement that Schelin, too, can stay involved in the game.

Schelin’s team honors with Lyon, in particular, are numerous. Lyon won Division 1 Feminine all eight seasons in which Schelin played. She helped Sweden win the silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, and was part of the team that finished third at the 2011 World Cup. Schelin was named to that tournament’s all-start team.

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