Magdalena Eriksson moved to London to grow her football career in the summer of 2017. The defender joined Chelsea FC from Linköpings FC, a team she just had captained to a league title in the Damallsvenskan in Sweden.
Eriksson, who is born and raised in Stockholm, started playing professionally as a youngster and after having played in both Hammarby IF and Djurgårdens IF, her experience from the Swedish top flight was valuable when she later moved to Linköping in 2013 as a 19-year-old.
Eriksson became a key player in Linköping's backline, and ahead of the 2016 season, she was given the captain's armband when Swedish veteran Charlotte Rohlin retired. During her time in Linköping, Eriksson established herself in Sweden's national team and after the Euro's 2017 in the Netherlands, she announced her move to the Women's Super League and Chelsea.
Tough in the beginning
Although the Chelsea Skipper instantly looked comfortable and seemed at home out on the pitch with her new team she doesn't hide the fact that it was tough in the beginning;
"Anyone who has experience in moving away from your home country would know how it feels. You kind of feel that you are the loneliest person in the world in the beginning but I think getting through that period made me stronger and gave me a bigger belief in myself."
"Surviving that and getting out of my comfort zone, but also learning about a new country, a new culture and about new football culture has helped me grow a lot."
Eriksson quickly became a Chelsea fan favourite and when she scored a spectacular overhead kick goal vs Liverpool, Emma Hayes spoke about Eriksson's leader abilities leaving no one surprised when the Swede was honoured with the captain's armband a year later;
"She is a real leader on the pitch and you could see from the reaction of the players to her goal the esteem in which she is held in by her peers."
Leading by example to inspire the next
Eriksson has made no secret of how much she cherishes Chelsea FC, and therefore the announcement of her contract extension came as no surprise.
"I came here three years ago hoping that the WSL would become more and more competitive. As a defender this is the league you want to play in, going up against the best attackers in the world. It is very inspiring and that's what got me to extend my contract."
Chelsea aim high and the club has already started their journey to become one of the biggest and best clubs in Europe. Their goals are to win every title that they are in competition for and that among other things seems to have triggered Eriksson's will to stay.
"My aim with Chelsea is pretty straight forward. It is to win a lot of trophies. That is our goal and we are not shy to talk about it. I think it's about driving standards every day in training to push for those goals." she said.
With several world-class players in the squad, all of them strong characters in different ways Eriksson has found her own way to be both their teammate and their leader;
"That is a fine balance but I've been working my own way in trying to find out what is my way of both being the captain in Chelsea and a teammate. Mainly I want to be their teammate, my philosophy is that we are all equals at the same level so I want to be a good teammate so that everyone feels good and that all of them can be themselves in this environment but of course, if needed I will step up and I will do what has to be done."
A popular player in Sweden
Not only has Eriksson grown her popularity as a favourite among the football fans in England but also in her home country. Sweden has played three Women's Euro 2020 qualification matches during the fall and in two of those, Eriksson has been voted as "Player of the match" by the Swedish fans.
The Swedish football supporters and fans aren't exactly spoiled to see Swedish internationals captaining their club teams around Europe, so what do Eriksson think it means for the younger generation in Sweden to have role models as herself in that way to look up to?
"I think it means a lot. I feel more and more how I have become a role model for the younger generation and especially in Sweden. I get a lot of messages on my Instagram and Twitter about people telling me that they see me as their role model. It really warms my heart and I love it. If I can inspire anyone to want to become a leader I think that is just amazing."