Freddie Ljungberg last night revealed he hoped Northern Ireland hero David Healy will not leave Sweden looking sheepish after being depicted as a lamb on its way to slaughter in the Swedish press.
Healy took the picture in good heart and Ljungberg - who was superimposed onto a donkey in the Belfast Telegraph yesterday - admitted it was a strange thing for any footballer to see.
"I did see the picture but to be honest I didn't really read the story," said the West Ham ace.
"It was a bit strange as players don't normally see themselves like that, but I'm sure it was all just a bit of fun.
"I certainly hope David Healy didn't take any offence as the Swedish team have nothing but respect for him and Northern Ireland. David is a really good player and has scored a lot of goals in this competition."
But the man behind the picture and the story couldn't resist another little swipe at Northern Ireland.
Simon Bank, a columnist for Sweden's biggest Sports paper, Aftonbladet, poked fun at the infamous bust-up between Northern Ireland duo Keith Gillespie and George McCartney on the plane home from Reykjavik last month.
He said: "It was definitely tongue in cheek. I made the comments and did the picture with a warm heart.
"I have the highest respect for David Healy and Northern Ireland though. He is a very, very good player and Northern Ireland were tremendous against us in Belfast.
"Hopefully he will see the picture as a humorous joke but I'm sure it will spur Northern Ireland on in the dressing room.
"But it will be good they're all fighting Sweden instead of each other!"