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The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Norwegian Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 16,880 Soccer Players, 141 of which were born in Norway. This makes Norway the birth place of the 25th most number of Soccer Players behind Nigeria and Mexico.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Norwegian Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous Norwegian 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 Norwegian Soccer Players.

Photo of Ole Gunnar Solskjær

1. Ole Gunnar Solskjær (1973 - )

With an HPI of 59.20, Ole Gunnar Solskjær is the most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 57 different languages on wikipedia.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈûːlə ˈɡʉ̂nːɑr ˈsûːlʂæːr] (listen); born 26 February 1973) is a Norwegian professional football manager, his most recent role was manager of Manchester United. He is also a former player who played as a forward. As a player, Solskjær spent the majority of his career with Manchester United and also played 67 times for the Norway national team. Solskjær began his career in his native Norway with Clausenengen, for whom he scored 115 goals in 109 league appearances over five seasons, helping them earn promotion to the Norwegian Second Division in 1993, before moving to Molde, newly promoted to the Tippeligaen, for the 1995 season. His goals helped Molde to a second-place finish and qualification for the UEFA Cup. He joined Manchester United in July 1996 for a transfer fee of £1.5 million. Nicknamed "the Baby-faced Assassin", he played 366 times for United and scored 126 goals during a successful period for the club. He was regarded as a "super-sub" for his knack of coming off the substitute bench to score late goals. In added time at the end of the 1999 UEFA Champions League final, he scored the winning last-minute goal against Bayern Munich, with Manchester United having trailed 1–0 as the game passed 90 minutes, and winning the treble for United. He remained a regular player for the side until a serious knee injury sustained in 2003 permanently plagued his playing career. Failing to recover from the injury, Solskjær announced his retirement from football in 2007.Solskjær remained at Manchester United in a coaching role as well as in an ambassadorial capacity. In 2008, Solskjær became the club's reserve team manager. He returned to his native country in 2011 to manage his former club, Molde, whom he led to their two first-ever Tippeligaen titles in his first two seasons with the club. He secured a third title when his team won the 2013 Norwegian Football Cup Final. In 2014, he served as manager of Cardiff City, during which the club was relegated from the Premier League. In late 2018, Manchester United appointed Solskjær as caretaker manager, taking over from José Mourinho for the rest of the 2018–19 season. On 28 March 2019, having won 14 of his 19 matches in charge, Solskjær signed a three-year contract to take over as Manchester United manager on a permanent basis. He took Manchester United to the 2021 UEFA Europa League final, where they lost to Villarreal on penalties. He was sacked by the club in November 2021 following a poor string of performances during the 2021–22 season.

Photo of Nils Arne Eggen

2. Nils Arne Eggen (1941 - 2022)

With an HPI of 53.86, Nils Arne Eggen is the 2nd most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Nils Arne Eggen (17 September 1941 – 19 January 2022) was a Norwegian footballer, manager and teacher from Orkdal. Eggen was closely tied to Rosenborg, the club he managed for 23 years between 1970 and 2010. He is Norway's most successful club manager throughout history, having won the Norwegian top division fifteen times and the Norwegian Football Cup six times as a manager. Eggen's tactical emphasis was on playing 4-3-3 and attacking football and his way of playing football has frequently been cited as an inspiration among players, coaches and clubs alike, both domestically and abroad. In his native Trøndelag, Eggen is revered and widely regarded as the greatest and most influential sports person in the region, even eclipsing Olympic champions such as Hjalmar Andersen and Petter Northug.His playing career started with Orkdal; he then played for Rosenborg from 1960 to 1963 and 1966 to 1969, and for Vålerengen between 1964 and 1966. He was capped 29 times for Norway between 1963 and 1969. He won the Norwegian top division once with Vålerengen and twice with Rosenborg, and the Norwegian Football Cup once with Rosenborg. In 1971, Eggen became manager of Rosenborg, winning the league in his inaugural season. He left to take over Norway U21 in 1973. He then became national team manager for Norway jointly with Kjell Schou-Andreassen until 1977. He then returned to Rosenborg where he remained until 1982. He then coached Orkdal until 1985. In 1986, he was hired as manager for Moss, where he won the Second Division in the first season and then the top league the following. During this period he was also manager of Norway U23. He started managing Rosenborg in 1988, where he remained until 2002, except for a sabbatical in 1998. This was the team's golden age, resulting in 11 consecutive league titles and the participation in eight consecutive seasons in Champions League. Eggen returned as manager for the single 2010 season, again winning the league.

Photo of Alf-Inge Håland

3. Alf-Inge Håland (1972 - )

With an HPI of 53.38, Alf-Inge Håland is the 3rd most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Alfie Haaland (born Alf-Inge Rasdal Håland; 23 November 1972) is a Norwegian former professional footballer who played as a right-back or midfielder. He is the father of current Manchester City player Erling Haaland.Haaland played in the Premier League with Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Manchester City, and won 34 caps for Norway. He also had spells in his home country with Bryne FK and Rosseland BK. He retired due to a left knee injury. He had earlier also suffered an injury to his other leg that was caused deliberately in a tackle by Manchester United captain Roy Keane; the pair had a history of clashes on the field.Born in Stavanger and raised in Bryne, Haaland joined the youth academy of his hometown club Bryne FK in 1979, and made his first-team debut in 1989 aged 17. He signed his first professional contract with the club a year later. Haaland then moved to Premier League club Nottingham Forest in December 1993, making his debut against Leicester City. After a four year spell at the club, he moved to Leeds United where he had his first clash against Roy Keane. He was part of the Leeds team that reached the semi-final of the UEFA Cup and qualified for the Champions League. Haaland then proceeded to make his final transfer to Manchester City, where he clashed with Roy Keane several times allegedly resulting in long-term injuries, though he denounced these claims in 2003. On the same year Haaland took an eight-year break before returning to Bryne FK's third team and officially ending his career in 2013 with Rosseland BK.

Photo of Jørgen Juve

4. Jørgen Juve (1906 - 1983)

With an HPI of 53.32, Jørgen Juve is the 4th most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Jørgen Juve (22 November 1906 – 12 April 1983) was a Norwegian football player, jurist, journalist, and non-fiction writer. For most of his career, he played as a striker for Lyn. He also played for a season at FC Basel in Switzerland before retiring and earned a total of 45 caps for the Norway national team. He is the highest-scoring player ever for Norway, with 33 goals in just 45 games. He was captain of the Norway team which won Olympic bronze medals in the 1936 Summer Olympics. He also had a career as a journalist for Dagbladet and Tidens Tegn, and wrote several books.

Photo of Arnfinn Bergmann

5. Arnfinn Bergmann (1928 - 2011)

With an HPI of 49.83, Arnfinn Bergmann is the 5th most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Arnfinn Bergmann (14 October 1928 – 13 February 2011) was a ski jumper from Norway. He won the individual large hill event at the 1952 Olympics and 1952 Holmenkollen ski festival and placed third at the 1950 World Championships. In 1956 he was awarded the Holmenkollen medal (shared with Borghild Niskin and Arne Hoel). As a junior Bergmann won the national title and the ski jumping competition in Holmenkollen in 1948. The same year he won the national football title with SK Freidig. Next year he started competing as a senior and placed third at the national championships. In 1950 he was included to the national team and unexpectedly won a bronze medal at the world championships. For the 1950–51 season he stayed in Canada, where he won his every competition. In 1952 he returned to Norway and won the Olympic gold medal, the Holmenkollen and the national championships. He defended his national title in 1953, but got injured in early 1954 and missed the season. He qualified for the 1956 Olympics, but withdrew due to a flu. In 1958 he was included to the 1958 World Championships team, after he unexpectedly won the national title, but he withdrew again, for unknown reasons. He retired in 1959 after placing third at the national championships. In 1956 Bergmann moved from Trondheim to Oslo, and for the next 30 years worked as a school teacher in Oslo and Bærum. After that he returned to Trondheim and spent the rest of his active life on maintaining the local ski museum.

Photo of Arne Brustad

6. Arne Brustad (1912 - 1987)

With an HPI of 48.26, Arne Brustad is the 6th most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Arne Brustad (14 April 1912 – 22 August 1987) was a Norwegian footballer. He is regarded as one of the country's best players of all time.

Photo of Nils Eriksen

7. Nils Eriksen (1911 - 1975)

With an HPI of 48.23, Nils Eriksen is the 7th most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Nils Kristian "Påsan" Eriksen (5 March 1911 – 5 May 1975) was a Norwegian association football player.At the 1936 Summer Olympics he was a member of the Norwegian team which won the bronze medal in the football tournament. He also took part in the 1938 FIFA World Cup. He was capped 47 times.On club level most of his career was spent at Odd, but he rounded off his career at Moss FK. He coached Moss FK.

Photo of John Arne Riise

8. John Arne Riise (1980 - )

With an HPI of 46.72, John Arne Riise is the 8th most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 53 different languages.

John Arne Semundseth Riise (born 24 September 1980) is a Norwegian professional football manager and former player who played as a left back and a left midfielder. He is currently the manager of Toppserien club Avaldsnes. With 110 caps, Riise is the most capped player for the Norway national team. He was named in the Norway squad for UEFA Euro 2000 but did not play in the tournament. Riise scored 16 goals before his retirement from international duty in 2013. He spent seven years playing for Premier League side Liverpool, in which he won many honours, including the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League, before moving to Roma in 2008.

Photo of Ståle Solbakken

9. Ståle Solbakken (1968 - )

With an HPI of 46.65, Ståle Solbakken is the 9th most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Ståle Solbakken (born 27 February 1968) is a Norwegian professional football manager and former player who is the manager of the Norway national team. During his playing career, Solbakken was named 1995 Norwegian midfielder of the year, and he won the Danish Superliga championship with both Aalborg BK and Copenhagen (in 1999 and 2001 respectively). He played 58 matches and scored nine goals for the Norway national football team during the end of the 1990s, and represented Norway at the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship tournaments. He ended his active career in March 2001 following a heart attack. As a manager, he was named 2004 Norwegian Manager of the Year, and has won eight Danish Superliga championships with Copenhagen. Solbakken was also in charge of German club 1. FC Köln during the 2011–12 season and then managed English side Wolverhampton Wanderers in a six-month tenure.

Photo of Thorbjørn Svenssen

10. Thorbjørn Svenssen (1924 - 2011)

With an HPI of 46.08, Thorbjørn Svenssen is the 10th most famous Norwegian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Ole Thorbjørn Svenssen (22 April 1924 – 8 January 2011) was a Norwegian footballer, who played a then record 104 international games for Norway, and captained the side 93 times. He was one of the first footballers who played 100 international games for their country. He was also part of Norway's squad at the 1952 Summer Olympics.

Pantheon has 141 people classified as soccer players born between 1897 and 1999. Of these 141, 123 (87.23%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Alf-Inge Håland, and John Arne Riise. The most famous deceased soccer players include Nils Arne Eggen, Jørgen Juve, and Arnfinn Bergmann. As of April 2022, 24 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Sverre Hansen, Rolf Holmberg, and Kristian Henriksen.

Living Soccer Players

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Deceased Soccer Players

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Newly Added Soccer Players (2022)

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