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Solskjaer the perfect professional

Premier League Manchester United
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brings the curtain down on 11 years at Old Trafford with one simple statement of fact proving his worth.

No-one - inside or outside Old Trafford - can muster up a single bad word to say about the Norwegian whose boyish appearance won him the nick-name "The Baby-Faced Assassin."

Solskjaer has caused many a curse from opposing teams and supporters with his unerring eye for the target, or his uncanny habit of scoring the goals that win matches, and on occasion trophies.

But once partisanship is removed from the equation, Solskjaer will receive nothing other than praise or respect from every football fan.

In an era of big-spending and even bigger egoes, has there ever been a better value-for-money deal than the £1.5m Sir Alex Ferguson paid Molde for Solskjaer's services in 1996?

366 appearances and 126 goals later, it is difficult to come up with a better transfer concluded by Ferguson.

At a time when many clubs, paricularly Liverpool, were having mixed fortunes in the fledgling Norwegian market, Ferguson hit the jackpot in quite spectacular fashion when he unearthed Solskjaer.

The highlight of Solskjaer's career will always be that winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, capping United's dramatic injury-time comeback.

But earlier that season he kept the treble bid on course with another late, late winner against Liverpool in the FA Cup at Old Trafford.

This was Solskjaer in essence - maybe not a scorer of great goals, but a great goalscorer and a scorer of priceless goals.

He was a better footballer than many gave him credit for, so much more than a penalty area predator.

Indeed, it was his ability to flourish in a right-flank role that helped persuade Ferguson it was time to sell David Beckham to Real Madrid in 2003.

Sadly, persistent injury problems meant Ferguson's theory was never fully put to the test.

Solskjaer the player has been suitably decorated, his career well-chronicled.

But admiration is just as great for Solskjaer the professional.

Solskjaer has never put a foot out of place at Old Trafford, never caused Ferguson a moment's trouble.

He has taken his place on the bench when he may have felt he deserved to be in the starting line-up.

The striker made his point emphatically, but not with words or threats.

He responded by turning games too numerous to mention after emerging as a substitute.

And on one memorable occasion, he scored four times in the last 20 minutes after coming on in an 8-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

And in a time when foreigners infiltrating our game are often portrayed as money-grasping mercenaries, Solskjaer has displayed nothing but unswerving loyalty to Old Trafford.

Contrast his demeanour with Gabriel Heinze, a player who never came close to touching his achievements or affection at United.

Heinze attempted to engineer a move to arch-rivals Liverpool before eventually skulking off to Real Madrid.

It was behaviour that would not have entered the head of Solskjaer.

It was loyalty repaid by Ferguson when he handed him a new contract despite constant injury problems.

Solskjaer's retirment will sadden Ferguson both professionally and personally, but he may yet return in a coaching or ambassadorial role.

And, knowing Solskjaer, he would continue to be a credit to himself, United and football.

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posted Sep 6, 2007

*sighs*

Ledgend hope he still does something for footy its not gonna be the same with out him now :-( gonna really miss him at old trafford.

But even the people who really hate Utd can say he was a fighter and respect him. To get through all thoughs injurys! Hes been so tough to train like straight after ops and stuff hes a true player playing what he loves doing.

ole ole ole ole

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posted Sep 6, 2007

I love football. I love United. There are highs and there are lows. Ole brought me so high that day in May 99 so high i'll never ever forget it or him. Thanks Ole, thank you so much for the memories. lol

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posted Sep 6, 2007

2 0LE GEND

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posted Sep 8, 2007

Wot a legend!! he's going to be missed at united big time! and i dont think you could ever get a better player for £1.5 million. I loved him as a player and i feel sorry for him that he had to retire because of his injury but i think he would of struggled to get back to his best after that amount of time out not playing! ole ole ole!!

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posted Oct 18, 2007

Probably the only man i will openly say that i love 20LEGEND

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posted Nov 2, 2007

Cracking striker, one of the most honest pros around, even I cheered when he got the winner in '99 against Bayern, one of my favourite moments in football, and this is a Norwich fan speaking lol!

Shame he had to quit through injury, and not on his own terms so to speak, but nonetheless a fine ambassador for United and a great servant of English football.

All the best Ole,

OTBC

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posted Nov 18, 2007

i think ole gunnar solskjaer's career really ended a long time ago. I think what was a great player was tainted by endless injury after injury. though regardless, a great striker and my best football memory remains to be when he scored THAT goal in 1999 in the nou camp.

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posted Aug 3, 2008

Gave me my most fav sporting moment wen he to poked in the winner against bayern! Legend!

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posted Aug 4, 2008

I watched United since I was 9 for the last 20 years. I love this club. Sir Alex Ferguson is my legend. Eric Cantona is my all time favorite player. But, there are also others that I really admire: Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Peter Schemicheal, Roy Kean, David Bechame, Gary Neville and *Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.*

What a player he is! Wonderful! I have never seen such a professional player like Oli. He has been a fantastic servant to United. Who can forget his goals against Liverpool and notable against Bayern? I have always liked the guy. I am so proud of Oli. He can be a role model to young players like Ronaldo and Rooney. I thank him for his fantastic contribution to United. We really miss u Oli.


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posted Aug 4, 2008

Re: Gunning for the Top (Formerly Walcott for England)

>>I wonder how many Man Utd fans know that Puerta has died today with ole's news of his retirement taking up all the news.

>>Puerta's death should be the top story rather than a player who never made it as a starting player.

Absolute nonsense from you as usual. You think the death of a young unknown Spanish player, who never played in this country would be of more interest to the British public than the retirement of a model professional who played for the biggest team in England for 12 years, helped them win a shed-load of trophies, conducted himself in a thoroughly professional manner both on and off the pitch and was a perfect role model to young fans everywhere? Check out some of the comments in this thread. Even fans from Chelsea, Liverpool and a host of other rival clubs are expressing their admiration for Solskjaer.

I wonder if you had even heard of Puerta before he sadly collapsed against Getafe. I highly doubt it so donít even try to take some sort of moral high ground. Keep tabs on every young minor player in the Spanish leagues do you?

Iím sure thousands of other people died on the 28th August 07 as well. Why havenít you mentioned them? Should the BBC run every single one as their top story? If it was anybody other than a Man Utd player, you wouldnít even be mentioning it. Your bias, jealously and bitterness toward Man Utd really knows no bounds does it? So much so that you have to bring up the completely unrelated tragic death of a young player in Spain to try and have a go. I pity you.

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