Date of birth: 3rd September, 1977
Place of birth: Gullspang, Sweden
Position: Centre back
Aston Villa career: 2001-2008
Signed from: Racing Santander
Having arrived from Spain, Mellberg offered fans a dominant display in his debut away to Spurs on the first day of the new season, which ended in stalemate.
The focused, reliable Swede soon established himself as a rock in Villa’s defence and became a firm favourite with the fans he always made time for.
With fans horrified at new manager O’Leary’s decision to drop Mellberg for the opening game of the 2003-2004 season, the spirited centre back was not only reinstated but named club captain, the first foreigner to hold that position, which proved a wise move as under Mellberg’s magnificent leadership Villa fired their way to a sixth-place finish. He remained captain for another three seasons, remaining loyal during tough times.
A model professional, the Swedish six-footer will always be remembered for the shirts he gave to every Villan who attended his final game in claret and blue, away to West Ham, before joining Italian giants Juventus and his frenetic fist-pumping as he was subbed up during the 5-1 defeat of Birmingham City.
Chris Driver: Man mountain, strong, could play anywhere at the back and could mark any striker out of the game. Plus a beard to die for.