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Best Norwegian footballers of all time

Thu 03 December 2020 | 2:30

Here are some of the very best Norwegian footballers of all time

Football is a fairly huge sport in Norway, like most in the world. Following skiing and other winter sports of course!

While Norway's men's national team has achieved little recent success, there are still a selection of players from the country who have been or are

best Norwegian footballers of all time

and also active outside Norway in leagues.

The Norwegian history of soccer is very fascinating. The Norwegian soccer team was a force to be reckoned with in the '90s. They were widely recognized as best Norwegian footballers of all time and very popular to frustrate larger football nations and others who were considered giants of football. They were, in fact, so brutal that they beat Brazil in the 1998 World Cup and beat Spain in the Euro in 2000.

Since then though, their football league success has been disappointing, but it's not for lack of potential.

Best Norwegian footballers of all time

Let’s take a look at some of the top Norwegian players ever…

Joshua King

Joshua King, born in Oslo, is a 27-year-old Norwegian star, one of the few

famous Norwegian footballers in history

. He currently plays for the football club AFC

Bournemouth

and the Norwegian national soccer team as a striker.

He began playing for Manchester United in 2008 and has been on loan to Hull City, Blackburn Rovers, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Preston North End.

King went out on a spell of loans to Preston North End, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Hull City following two seasons with the United Reserves.

He came back and appeared strongly for Manchester United replacements at the start of the 2012 season, and even made a few first-team contributions.

King went to Blackburn Rovers on loan in search of consistent first-team football, with the possibility to make the transfer permanent, which happened. At Blackburn, King then spent two seasons.

In 2015, prior to their first ever Premier League season, King moved to Bournemouth. In 154 appearances since his debut, Joshua King has gone on to score 46 goals.

In Premier League history, the Bournemouth striker is the second-highest scoring Norwegian striker, indeed one of the

Best Norwegian footballers of all time

. For Bournemouth as a forward, Joshua King continues to make appearances and lately extended his contract until 2021.

John Arne Riise

John Risse is a retired soccer player who was born in Molde, Norway, in 1980. He has played for teams such as Roma,

Liverpool

, Monaco Fulham, and the Norwegian national team, mostly as a left-winger and left-back.

With roughly 110 caps, Riise is also regarded as the most capped Norwegian player and one of the most famous Norwegian footballers in history. John Arne Riise is widely considered to be one of Liverpool's best left-backs in the Premier League era.

Following an outstanding three-year stint with Ligue 1 side AS Monaco, Riise completed a £4 million Liverpool in 2001.

As he ended his debut season with seven Premier League goals, he made a major mark for the Reds, scoring vital goals versus their domestic opponents, to eventually become one of the

Best Norwegian footballers of all time.

The Norwegian spent seven seasons with Liverpool in the Premier League prior to joining AS Roma at the end of the 2008-09 season. Riise made 234 appearances during his first period in the league and scored 21 times.

The Norwegian returned in 2011, joining Fulham from AS Roma for a second spell in the league. Riise ended London's three-season spell and joined APOEL in 2014.

Before his departure in 2016, he also had minor roles in the Indian Super League and the Tippeligaen.

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Tore Andre Flo

Tore is a resigned soccer player who is 46 years old and was born in Flo, Stryn, Norway. He played as a forward and teams such as Leeds United, Sunderland, Rangers, and

Chelsea

are part of his football career.

When Norway won 2-1, he was a member of the team that represented Norway in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and scored the first goal against Brazil. In 2000, he played in the UEFA Euro, too.

A look at Tore Andre Flo's career is sufficient to indicate that the Norwegian was a nomadic footballer and definitely one of the the Best Norwegian footballers of all time.

The striker spent four seasons with Chelsea and Sunderland in the Premier League, reaching 141 appearances in total and scoring 38 goals.

In 1997, Flo signed for Chelsea from Norwegian side Brann for a fee of £ 300,000 and enjoyed a spectacular debut season with the Blues producing 14 goals.

The following season, the striker was a significant character as Chelsea applied for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club's history.

He won the League Cup, the Cup Winners' Cup, and scored against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals during his stay at Chelsea.

After a few seasons, with a 12 million pound move to Scottish side Rangers, Flo was the most costly Norwegian player and ofcourse one of the

Greatest Norwegian players in football history

.

Flo decided to move to Rangers after struggling to get consistent first-team action despite netting more than ten goals in the league during his first three seasons at the club.

Two seasons later, the Norwegian was back with Sunderland in the Premier League, but could never recreate his success at the Bridge. Until ultimately retiring from the game in 2012, Tore Andre Flo continued to play for five various clubs in eight years. Flo is now a member of Chelsea's coaching staff.

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the most popular Scandinavian player in Premier League history, one of the Best Norwegian footballers of all time spent 11 seasons in total at

Manchester United

. For the Red Devils, the forward made 235 league appearances, scoring 91 goals and proceeded to win 10 trophies at Old Trafford during his tenure.

Solskjaer, signed by Molde in 1996, was an unexpected takeover by Sir Alex Ferguson. After the Red Devils failed to obtain the services of Alan Shearer, the Norwegian joined the side.

In his debut season, Solskjaer was supposed to be a minor player but turned out to be one of the season's best footballers as he assisted the Red Devils to regain Blackburn Rovers' Premier League crown.

Solskjaer soon became a celebrity at Old Trafford, famed for his ability to come off the bench and score match winners.

The youthful looks of the Norwegian, a lovely smile and a lethal finish won him the nickname 'Baby-faced Assassin.' He was without a doubt one of the very top and

Best Norwegian Soccer Players ever.

In their popular treble-winning season, Solskjaer's crowning achievement in the red jersey came after coming on as a second-half replacement and scoring the match-winner in the 1999 Champions League final.

Solskjaer's subsequent years saw the striker dealing with injuries. Between 2003 and 2007, the Norwegian made a total of only 56 appearances before ultimately calling it a day at the end of the 2006-07 season Solskjær returned to the UK to take the helm at Cardiff City after quite an extremely successful term in charge of Molde FK.

For the Norwegian, things did not go well, and he soon returned for a second time to Molde.

Solskjær was called upon to take over as caretaker manager after Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was dismissed in 2018.

He was expected to return to Molde, but after leading an amazing recovery on the pitch and once more representing himself as one of the Greatest Norwegian players in football history, he was given the job on a permanent basis.

 

Henning Berg

Before moving to football giants Manchester United, Berg was the very first player to win the Premier League with two separate clubs, playing as a defender for

Blackburn Rovers

.

He produced a handful of goals at both clubs and made historically high appearances. He took part in the 1995 Blackburn championship season, and the 1999 and 2000 United championship runs. He is definitely considered as one of the Best Norwegian football Players in history.

Odd Iversen

In 1964, Iversen started his career in Rosenborg and would spend twelve of his eighteen years at the club as a top-level football player. He is often recognised as one of Norway's greatest footballers ever and was four times the top goalscorer in the Norwegian top division (1967, 1968, 1969 and 1979).

He became the first Norwegian player in history to receive a testimonial match from his club after retirement in 1982 (Rosenborg). He still held the record for most goals scored in one season at the time of his death (30 goals in 18 matches), a record that still stands as of November 2020.

He scored 158 goals in the top division during his career as a footballer, a record that stood for more than 20 years until Petter Belsvik (159) broke it in 2003. Since then, in the all time goalscoring chart, Harald Martin Brattbakk (166) and Sigurd Rushfeldt (172) have also passed Iversen.

Iversen also played for Vålerenga and Racing Mechelen in Belgium, in addition to Rosenborg.

Ronny Johnsen

Skjelbred, a central midfielder for Hertha BSC, is one of Norway's better-known football players today.

When he was selected to compete in a football talent contest named Proffdrømmen ('the professional dream') on Norwegian channel TV3, his footballing profession first got off the ground.

He won and was offered a deal with the youth system of Liverpool, but he rejected the offer and instead joined the major team,

Rosenborg

, from his hometown of Trondheim.

Skjelbred became the second youngest player ever at the age of 16 with a first team debut at Rosenborg when he made his first appearance in the senior side.

He endured a major injury setback a year later when after a risky tackle during a Champions League match, he fractured both bones in his leg, but was back in the side a few months later at the outset of the 2006 season.

Skjelbred was hired by the Bundesliga team Hamburger SV in 2011, but he enjoyed little success, and he was added to the transfer list with just a few games under his belt.

Erik Thorstvedt

He has played for Viking, Eik-Tonsberg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, IFK Goteborg and

Tottenham Hotspur

.

When he won it with Spurs in 1991 and later becoming the first Norwegian to compete in the Premier League, he was the first Norwegian to win the FA Cup. Thorstvedt lived in the Hertfordshire town of Hoddesdon throughout his time in Tottenham.

Because of back injuries, Thorstvedt retired in 1996. He worked as a goalkeeping coach with the Norwegian national team after his career as a player, and had a brief period as Director of Football at Viking.

He has worked for different TV channels as an expert commentator/pundit, and was the TV host of the Royal League matches broadcast on TVNorge. He was also the Tufte IL coach, a team produced for the Heia Tufte! Reality-TV show. He was awarded the Se og Hor TV personality of the year award for his role on this program.

Thorbjorn Svenssen

Svenssen was a tall and powerful central defender who played for his hometown team Sandefjord throughout his career. Svenssen played 22 seasons for 

Sandefjord

 at club level, but never won any big trophies (in 1955-56, Sandefjord finished second in the league). 

He did, however, compete twice in the Norwegian cup final (1957 and 1959), ending both times on the losing side. His steady and solid play at the back earned him the nickname "Klippen" ("The Rock").

On 11 June 1947, in a friendly match against Poland, Svenssen made his international debut. During the next decade and a half, he stayed relatively ever-present on the national side.

In his 12th international (a friendly against Egypt on Christmas Eve 1948), he was elected captain and held the captain's armband for the entirety of his international career.

On 17 September 1961, Svenssen earned his 100th cap versus Denmark. Svenssen was at the time, just the second player in football history to cross 100 international games.

The first was Billy Wright, who in October 1958, reached the milestone. On 16 May 1962, Svenssen's 104th and final cap came in a 2-1 victory against the Netherlands.

Svenssen was 38 years and 24 days when he earned his 104th cap, and is now the fourth oldest player to have played for the Norwegian national team, beaten only by Frode Johnsen, Gunnar Thoresen and Ronny Johnsen.

Jorgen Juve

Juve began playing soccer at the Porsgrunn Sports Club Urædd, just 16 years old. He moved to Oslo in 1926, where he started playing for a club named Lyn. 

Juve played for Lyn in the Norwegian Cup final in 1928, but the team lost 2-1 against Ørn-Horten. He played 12 games for FC Basel during the 1930-1931 season, in which he netted 10 goals.

He made 45 appearances and between 1928 and 1937, scored 33 international goals for the Norwegian national team. In June 1928, his first national team match was against Finland, and in June 1937, his 45th match was against Denmark.

In June 1929, when he scored a hat-trick against the Netherlands, Juve produced his first goals for Norway, and in the next seven matches he scored 16 goals. 

Juve is the Norwegian national team's leading scorer of all time with his 33 goals. In 22 of those games, he only played as a striker; he alternated the rest between right-back and center-half.

Rune Bratseth

Bratseth made his Norwegian national team appearance on February 26, 1986, playing in Grenada in the first half of a 2-1 friendly win. In the next eight years, he was a regular, achieving a further 59 caps.

The 33-year-old Bratseth was captain of the Norwegian squad during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Their third and last game against the Republic of Ireland turned out to be their last international, as they left in the group stage (albeit with four points).

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