The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Danish Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 21,273 Soccer Players, 183 of which were born in Denmark. This makes Denmark the birth place of the 18th most number of Soccer Players behind Croatia, and Portugal.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Danish Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous Danish Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Danish Soccer Players.

Photo of Peter Schmeichel

1. Peter Schmeichel (b. 1963)

With an HPI of 65.48, Peter Schmeichel is the most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 61 different languages on wikipedia.

Peter Bolesław Schmeichel (born 18 November 1963) is a Danish former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. During eight seasons at English club Manchester United, he won 15 trophies including five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and he captained the club to victory in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final to complete the Treble. Schmeichel also played for the Danish national team, with whom he won the UEFA European Championship in 1992. Regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, he was voted the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper in 1992 and 1993, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics also ranked Schmeichel among the top ten goalkeepers of the 20th century. Born in Gladsaxe, Copenhagen, Schmeichel is 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) tall and weighed close to 100 kg (15 st 10 lb) during his playing days, and wore specially-made size XXXL football shirts. A fierce competitor, he often loudly criticised perceived mistakes by his defenders. Unusual for a goalkeeper, he scored 11 goals during his career, including one for the national team. He was also the most capped player for the Denmark national team, with 129 games between 1987 and 2001, until he was overtaken by Simon Kjaer in 2023. In addition to Euro 92, he played for his country at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and three additional European Championship tournaments. He captained the national team in 30 matches. He also represented Gladsaxe-Hero, Hvidovre, Brøndby, Sporting CP, Aston Villa and Manchester City in a career that lasted from 1981 until 2003 and yielded 24 trophies. In 2001, Schmeichel won a public poll held by Reuters, in which the majority of the 200,000 participants voted him as the best goalkeeper ever, ahead of Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks. In 2003, Schmeichel was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his impact on the English game. In March 2004, he was named as one of the "125 greatest living footballers", at the FIFA 100 celebrations. Schmeichel's son, Kasper, is also a professional goalkeeper, currently playing for Belgian Pro League side Anderlecht and the Denmark national team.

Photo of Allan Simonsen

2. Allan Simonsen (b. 1952)

With an HPI of 63.70, Allan Simonsen is the 2nd most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Allan Rodenkam Simonsen (born 15 December 1952) is a Danish former footballer and manager. He most prominently played as a striker for German Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach, winning the 1975 and 1979 UEFA Cups, as well as for Barcelona in Spain, winning the 1982 Cup Winners' Cup. Simonsen is the only footballer to have scored in the European Cup, UEFA Cup, and Cup Winners' Cup finals. Simonsen was named 1977 European Footballer of the Year. For the Denmark national team, Simonsen was capped 55 times, scoring 20 goals. He represented Denmark at the 1972 Summer Olympics, 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup tournaments. He was voted into the Danish Football Hall of Fame in November 2008.

Photo of Richard Møller Nielsen

3. Richard Møller Nielsen (1937 - 2014)

With an HPI of 59.14, Richard Møller Nielsen is the 3rd most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Richard Møller Nielsen (19 August 1937 – 13 February 2014) was a Danish football player and manager. He coached the Denmark national football team that won the UEFA Euro 1992 tournament. In 1995, he was awarded a gold version of the Medal of Merit. He was the father of Tommy Møller Nielsen.

Photo of Preben Elkjær

4. Preben Elkjær (b. 1957)

With an HPI of 58.47, Preben Elkjær is the 4th most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Preben Elkjær Larsen (Danish pronunciation: [ˈelˌkʰeˀɐ̯]; born 11 September 1957) is a Danish former professional footballer who played as a striker. Amongst others, he played with Hellas Verona in Italy, helping the club to the only major title of its history, the 1985 Serie A. Additionally, Elkjær scored 38 goals for the Denmark national team in 11 years, being a leading figure for the Danish side under coach Sepp Piontek that played at the Euro 1984 and the 1986 World Cup (a first-ever appearance), often hailed as the golden generation of Danish football by their countrymen. Elkjær won the Bronze Ball award at the latter competition. Widely regarded as one of the best forwards of the 1980s, Elkjær finished second in the Ballon d'Or awards in 1985, having been placed third the previous year, and going on to finish fourth in 1986. In Verona he is still remembered fondly, having earned the persisting nickname "Il sindaco" (the mayor) during his stint for the club. To this day, at least a few hundred voters in the city continue to write his name on their ballots at the mayoral elections. Renowned for his goal-scoring abilities and persona, he also remains one of the most popular sports personalities in his native Denmark. A well-known story in Copenhagen that is testament to his popularity, tells how during the celebrations of the Danish qualification for the 1986 World Cup, a graffiti tag emerged on a wall in Copenhagen, asking "What would we do if Jesus returned tomorrow?". Over night, another an answer had been sprayed on the wall replying "Then we'll move Elkjær out wide".

Photo of Poul Nielsen

5. Poul Nielsen (1891 - 1962)

With an HPI of 56.83, Poul Nielsen is the 5th most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Niels Poul "Tist" Nielsen (25 December 1891 – 9 August 1962) was a Danish footballer who is the joint all-time best goalscorer for the Denmark national team with 52 goals in 38 matches. Nielsen won a silver medal with the national team at the 1912 Summer Olympics. He played his career as a striker for Kjøbenhavns Boldklub, with whom he won six Danish football championships. In Canada, he played for CNR Montréal, winning the Dominion of Canada Championship in 1929.

Photo of Søren Lerby

6. Søren Lerby (b. 1958)

With an HPI of 56.00, Søren Lerby is the 6th most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Søren Lerby (born 1 February 1958) is a Danish former football player, manager, and licensed agent. As a player, he spent most of his career in Dutch football, winning five Eredivisie championships with Ajax Amsterdam and two with PSV Eindhoven. With the latter club, he also won the 1988 European Cup. He won two Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich, and played one season for AS Monaco in France. He played 67 matches for the Denmark national football team from 1978 to 1989, and represented Denmark at the 1986 FIFA World Cup and two European Championship tournaments. Currently, he is the agent of Galatasaray winger Dries Mertens.

Photo of Kenneth Zohore

7. Kenneth Zohore (b. 1994)

With an HPI of 55.53, Kenneth Zohore is the 7th most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Albin Kenneth Dahrup Zohore (born 31 January 1994) is a Danish professional footballer who plays as a striker. He began his career in his native Denmark, making his professional debut for Copenhagen at the age of 16, becoming the youngest player to play in the Danish Superliga. Regarded as a promising youngster, he joined Italian side Fiorentina in 2012 but struggled to break into the first-team and, following loan spells with Brøndby IF and IFK Göteborg, he returned to Denmark on a permanent basis by joining OB in 2015.

Photo of Harald Nielsen

8. Harald Nielsen (1941 - 2015)

With an HPI of 54.23, Harald Nielsen is the 8th most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Harald Ingemann Nielsen (26 October 1941 – 11 August 2015) was a Danish footballer who played as a forward. He played professionally for Italian club Bologna F.C. where he was the league top scorer (capocannoniere) in Bologna's 1964 Serie A championship winning season. Harald Nielsen played 14 games for the Denmark national team in 1959 and 1960, scoring 15 goals, and he was known as Guld-Harald (Gold-Harald). He was a football entrepreneur having continuously worked for the professionalization of both the Demark national team and the national league.

Photo of Sophus Nielsen

9. Sophus Nielsen (1888 - 1963)

With an HPI of 54.00, Sophus Nielsen is the 9th most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Sophus Erhard "Krølben" Nielsen (15 March 1888 – 6 August 1963) was a Danish amateur football player and manager, and the first player in history to score ten goals in a full national team match. Nielsen scored a total 16 goals in 20 games for the Denmark national team, and won silver medals at the 1908 and 1912 Summer Olympics. He was named Denmark national team manager in 1940, and he was a pioneer in educating Danish coaches. His nickname Krølben (literally: curl-leg) is slang for him being bandy-legged.

Photo of Frank Arnesen

10. Frank Arnesen (b. 1956)

With an HPI of 53.64, Frank Arnesen is the 10th most famous Danish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Frank Arnesen (born 30 September 1956) is a former Danish footballer and sporting director at Dutch football club Feyenoord. Arnesen was the Director of Football at English football clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, and was Sporting Director at Hamburger SV, Metalist Kharkiv and PAOK. As a player, he most notably played with Dutch clubs Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, winning the 1988 European Cup with PSV. Arnesen was capped 52 times and scored 14 goals for the Danish national team, and participated in the Euro 1984 and 1986 FIFA World Cup tournaments.


Pantheon has 225 people classified as Danish soccer players born between 1884 and 2003. Of these 225, 203 (90.22%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Danish soccer players include Peter Schmeichel, Allan Simonsen, and Preben Elkjær. The most famous deceased Danish soccer players include Richard Møller Nielsen, Poul Nielsen, and Harald Nielsen. As of April 2024, 44 new Danish soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Karl Aage Hansen, Jens Jørgen Hansen, and Birger Jensen.

Living Danish Soccer Players

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Deceased Danish Soccer Players

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Newly Added Danish Soccer Players (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 17 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.