Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is my second all-time favourite Man Utd player, behind Giggs. Whilst Giggs is known as the Welsh Wizard, Solskjaer's nickname is Baby Faced Assassin.Seriously baby-faced, right? He has just turned 33, but this pic should be taken a couple of years back. Sorry ladies, he is already married with two children.

Unlike Giggs, I cannot pinpoint exactly why I admire Solskjaer this much as a football player. Perhaps because he is such a natural and gifted finisher (read striker). Perhaps because he too, like Giggs, is very loyal to the club (he had turned down several moves to other Premiership clubs despite not holding down a permanent first XI place in the team). Perhaps because he has always been and still is such a humble player and servant of the club.

Oh yes, he is a very natural and clinical finisher. No better example than the match against Nottingham Forest on 6th February 1999. Deep into the second half, Man Utd was already leading 4-1. Home and safe, 3 points in the bag. So the manager, affectionately known to us as Fergie, threw on Solskjaer with 15 minutes to go, to save the legs of his captain, Roy Keane, for more important battles ahead. What did our Baby Faced Assassin do?
He proceeded to score four in the last 13 minutes of the game. 8-1 was the final score.

Still, that was not the highlight of his career. Ask any Red Devils fan and they will tell you that it would HAVE TO BE his injury time winner in the Champions' League final of 1999. That won Man Utd's second European crown, the first being way way back in 1968. That goal made him a 20legend amongst us fans.
Pic from Man Utd Zone. The moment that will remain immortalised forever in the hearts and minds of all Red Devils' fans, when Solskjaer stuck out a foot to score that injury time winner in the Champion's League final on 26th May 1999 against Bayern Munich.

Solskjaer is Norwegian, by the way. Like Giggs, Solskjaer did not get to display his skills much on the international level. He did however get to play in a World Cup (1998 edition) and in a European Championships (2000 edition). More importantly, he played in that famous victory over Brazil in the '98 World Cup group stages match that ensured Norway qualified for the second round. How often do you hear of Brazil getting beaten in a World Cup?

Sadly, Solskjaer has been injured for about two consecutive years now (since May 2004). Despite his lengthy recuperation, fans have not forgotten about him. Well, I know I haven't. I dearly wish he would score at least once more before retiring for good. To be forced into retirement due to injury just leaves a bitter aftertaste, even if he had enjoyed a highly successful career.

Indeed, his recent comeback progress has been good. Fergie has expressed his optimism about it. And he himself seemed to have gotten through recent reserves matches ok. Fingers crossed!

(Edit: The following is added at 8:38a.m.)

This piece of news just in. Shucks!

(Edit: Another update, this at 8:48p.m.)

I wonder if he'll ever play for Man Utd again. *Big Sigh*

Akan Datang: Keychains

37 days to go.


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