Nancy: Ulrika wasn't a threat


She has been portrayed as the fiery Italian whose nononsense approach reduces her lover Sven Goran Eriksson to a nervous wreck.

Indeed, when his affair with fellow Swede Ulrika Jonsson was revealed last year, she laughed off suggestions that he might leave her for a younger blonde.

Wearing a succession of glamorous outfits and sporting a large ring on her wedding finger, Nancy dell'Olio set out to win back her man.

It was a successful strategy and added to her reputation as a woman who is firmly in control.

But the real Miss Dell'Olio, it appears, has a far softer side.

Speaking for the first time about the affair, she appears to be totally ruled by her Swedish boyfriend, whom she says she forgives completely.

The lawyer, who claims to be 41 but is believed to be closer to 45, says she has never considered leaving the 54-year-old England football manager because she believes "physical infidelity is not the end of the world".

She claims "anyone can make a mistake" and would not walk out on Eriksson because he is, quite simply "the love of my life".

And in a telling shot at Miss Jonsson, who alleged Eriksson was going to leave Miss Dell'Olio for her, she claimed: "I have never thought of any woman as my rival for a single second.

"Women are usually more emotionally involved but men generally don't need to be emotionally involved to have an affair."

Miss Dell'Olio agreed to speak to Hello!, after the magazine agreed not to mention Ulrika by name.

The interview paints Miss Dell'Olio to be a very different creature from the strong-minded lawyer who emerged during the Ulrika affair.

"In a relationship I would describe myself much more like a geisha than the one wearing the trousers," she said.

"My priority is to please my man and that gives me much more pleasure than anything else."

But despite longing for marriage, she admitted a wedding day was still a long way off.

"We have been engaged since we met," she announced cryptically. He has proposed to me - that is why we started living together - and I feel married.

"Maybe one day we will get married but we are very happy as we are. It is important to believe in your relationship, you can't walk away when things get difficult."

Eriksson's four-month fling with Miss Jonsson started when they were introduced at a party in December 2001.

Ulrika, 35, ended it after it became public. The victorious Nancy was later pictured kissing Sven's feet on holiday.

Touching on the affair, Miss Dell'Olio admitted her lover had made "a mistake" but she said she had come to terms with it because she believed Eriksson still loved her and had not been unfaithful "in the soul".

"The most important thing is to know what the truth is," she said.

"Nobody on the outside really knows what is going on within the couple. The truth comes from reality, and reality is what I see every day."

Asked if she had ever considered leaving Eriksson, she simply said "no".

She said she had no qualms following Eriksson to England despite a successful career as a lawyer in Italy. Now her new wish is to have a child with Eriksson.

"I have to be aware of the age thing, of course, but I think there is still time," she said.

"It is important and not important for our relationship. Now it would be a good thing, but I will leave it to destiny."

Yesterday Miss Dell'Olio was back in her businesswoman role as she held talks about her charity Truce in Downing Street.

The fund aims to lay football pitches in war-torn areas and already has plans for Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip and Iraq.

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