Canada has another trophy winner.
This weekend, Canadian men’s national team centre-back Derek Cornelius won the Swedish Allsvenskan with Malmö FF.
Despite Cornelius’ fourth goal of the season on the penultimate matchday against Häcken, Malmö’s defeat meant that they occupied the second spot in the league for the fourth week in a row heading into the last day of the season.
But they beat Elfsborg 1-0 at the weekend, with Cornelius playing a key role in the clean sheet, to win their 23rd Swedish league title on goal difference after 30 games.
Cornelius, who never quite managed to lock down a regular starting spot at the Vancouver Whitecaps, has had a stellar first season in Sweden. He missed just five league games for Malmö, starting 24 of the 27 games he was available for. He is the first Canadian outfield player since Atiba Hutchinson in 2005 to feature in more than 20 Swedish league matches.
As well as forming part of a championship-winning central defensive partnership, Cornelius contributed at the other end of the pitch, too. He scored three league goals, all during the final three months of the campaign. One of those was this last-gasp game-winner, which looks absolutely vital with hindsight, given the tiny margin by which Malmö won the title.
Because the Swedish league season runs from April to November, Cornelius is the first Canadian to win a league championship during the European football season. Given how Alphonso Davies and Bayern Munich have started in Germany, you’d have to say he’s unlikely to be the last to win one.
It also means that Cornelius will be another Canadian playing in next season’s UEFA Champions League, although he’ll have to wait until the second qualifying round gets started in July 2024, by which time he will be in the middle of his second season with Malmö.
His form has also seen him earn a recall to the CanMNT set-up. He played 45 minutes in the defeat to Japan last month and is in the squad for the two-legged CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final and 2024 Copa América qualifier against Jamaica which begins on Friday.