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Home / Latest News / Cardiff City star Aron Gunnarsson chases World Cup dream after Championship heroics

Cardiff City star Aron Gunnarsson chases World Cup dream after Championship heroics

Cardiff City fans’ favourite  Aron Gunnarsson is chasing a dream double… the Premier League and next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

The first part of the equation has been achieved by the Iceland captain, who helped Malky Mackay’s men clinch their place in the top flight.

For Manchester United fan Gunnarsson, it will be an ambition fulfilled when he runs out at Old Trafford next season.

“I have always supported United and it’s going to be a fantastic playing against them,” said Gunnarsson.

Before that, though, he has the little matter of trying to help Iceland take another step towards the 2014 World Cup finals.

Gunnarsson and his team are second only to Switzerland in Group E and will be looking to go top by defeating bottom club Slovenia early next month.

Also in the group are Albania, Norway and Cyprus, so everything really is up for grabs.

Unlike the majority of his Bluebirds team-mates, Gunnarsson is not yet able to switch off for pre-season because of the international duties he still has to perform.

But he is still savouring every moment of Cardiff’s title-winning season, smiling: “The Premier League fixtures are out next month – and that’s when it will start to sink in. Right at this moment it’s about enjoying what we have achieved this season. This has been a huge team effort, a remarkable season for everybody at the club.”

Gunnarsson made 35 Championship appearances for the Bluebirds, grabbing a career-best eight goals to finish as joint top scorer with Heidar Helguson and Peter Whittingham.


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“We won the title and promotion to the Premier and that is an unbelievable thing,” continued Gunnarsson.

“It’s still sinking in. Even at the moment I can be relaxing, my mind reflects on the season just ended and suddenly I think ‘Hold on! We’ve done it. Cardiff are in the Premier’.

“It’s hard to describe how good that is. I have always wanted to be part of a Premier League team.

“That was part of the reason I signed for Cardiff because I knew the ambitions of this club and those of Malky Mackay matched mine.

“When I came to the UK my target was to get to the Premier League.

“We are there and I need another target.

“Over the summer I will be giving that a lot of thought, but for the time being it’s important to savour the moment.

“The open top bus tour was fabulous and those memories will be with me. I am trying not to let this pass too quickly.

“I’m buzzing. I am going to enjoy this.”

Gunnarsson, 23, is relaxing back home in Iceland this week and says: “I’ve switched off from football completely.

“The players deserve a break because they’ve been full on for eight or nine months. We’ve done the business.

“But this time can’t last for me because Iceland have World Cup qualifiers coming up – and I will be back in football mode next week. I can’t be off for too much.

“We have a real chance of qualifying for the World Cup.”

Iceland have never reached for the finals, but are in second spot behind Switzerland with half of the fixtures played.

The top two have a crunch clash to come against one another during September, 90 minutes which may well determine who goes to Brazil.

Gunnarsson finished the Championship season playing a holding role in front of the Cardiff back four, the same position he fills for his country.

He put down the foundations just behind Jordon Mutch and Kim Bo-Kyung in a midfield trio who played a crucial role in Cardiff’s eight-match unbeaten run to the end of their season.

“I did a lot of homework on Aron before signing him, talking to people who knew him,” said manager Mackay.

“Nobody had a bad word to say about him. I knew what a bargain he would prove to be.

“The amount of football he has played in different positions for a young player is remarkable. I asked him to play in challenging roles.

“He has played the top of a diamond, top of a three and more.

“They are not his natural positions and playing those roles are maybe not his natural game. But I see things in Aron which enable him to do that.

“He is a strong person physically with a strong mentality. He has such a calm demeanour.

“Aron has that Icelandic thing – he is a Viking warrior. They get on with things and give everything they have to their team.”

Cardiff’s promotion means Gunnarsson becomes the most recent in a line of Icelandic  footballers to play in the Premier League.

Helguson, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Hermann Hreidarsson and current Spurs ace Gylfi Sigurdsson have each featured in the top division.

“There are quite a few Icelandic players who have been, or are, in the Premier League,” he said.

“They are good friends of mine and tell me it’s the best league in the world.

“Well it’s my turn to sample  football at the top and I’m delighted to be doing that with Cardiff.

“When you look at our stadium, training facilities, the  staff, our squad and the passionate fans, the Premier  League is where this club deserves to be.”

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