Jesper Grønkjær: Wikis

  
  

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Jesper Grønkjær
JesperGronkjaer cropped.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth August 12, 1977 (1977-08-12) (age 32)
Place of birth Nuuk, Greenland
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1+12 in)
Playing position Winger
Supporting striker
Club information
Current club F.C. Copenhagen
Number 10
Youth career
Thisted FC
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1998 AaB 86 (10[1])
1998–2000 Ajax 55 (12[2])
2000–2004 Chelsea 88 (7[2])
2004–2005 Birmingham City 16 (0[2])
2005–2006 Atlético Madrid 16 (0[2])
2005–2006 VfB Stuttgart 25 (0[3])
2006–Present F.C. Copenhagen 77 (11[1])
National team
1993 Denmark U-16 2 (2)
1992–1994 Denmark U-17 19 (13)
1994–1997 Denmark U-19 19 (7)
1996–1999 Denmark U-21 24 (4)
1999– Denmark 76 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14 March 2010.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 November 2009

Jesper Grønkjær (born 12 August 1977 in Nuuk, Greenland) is a Danish professional football player who currently plays for F.C. Copenhagen. A pacey winger, earlier in his career he was told that he could have been a sprinter, Grønkjær is able to play both right or left wing, but he is also able to play in the hole as supporting striker. Grønkjær has been capped 70 times for the Danish national team, scoring five goals. He played for his country at the 2002 World Cup, as well as two European Championship tournaments.

Contents

Biography

Raised in Thisted, Grønkjær started his career with local team Thisted FC. While at Thisted FC, he made his debut for the Danish youth national teams in October 1992 and played 6 matches, scoring twice at the 1994 UEFA European Under-16 Football Championship where Denmark were finalists. He moved on to defending Danish Superliga champions Aalborg Boldspilklub (AaB) in 1995. He played almost 100 matches for the club, including games in the European 1995-96 UEFA Champions League tournament. With three goals in six matches, as the Danish national youth team won silver medals at the 1994 European Under-16 Championship, he showed himself one of the brightest talents in Danish football. He was named 1995 Danish Under-19 Player of the Year and Grønkjær attracted the attention of a string of European top clubs.

Moving abroad

As his contract was projected to run out in the summer 1999, AaB sold Grønkjær in a £3.5 million transfer deal with Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam in October 1997, with Grønkjær moving to Amsterdam in July 1998. At Ajax, he was coached by fellow Dane Morten Olsen, and played alongside Danish international Ole Tobiasen. With Ajax, he won the 2000 Dutch Cup and he was named 1999-2000 "Ajax Player of the Year" by the fans.

In his first year at Ajax, Grønkjær made his debut for the Danish national team in the 2000 European Championship (Euro 2000) qualification game against Italy on March 27, 1999. In the very first minute of the game, he famously echoed Jesper Olsen's 1986 World Cup mistimed backpass to Spanish forward Emilio Butragueño, as Grønkjær passed the ball to Italian forward Filippo Inzaghi who promptly scored the first goal in Italy's 2-1 victory.[4] Despite the disappointing debut game, Grønkjær became an important part of the national team under coach Bo Johansson and he played full time in Denmark's three games at the Euro 2000 main tournament.

The record move

In October 2000, Grønkjær joined English Premiership club Chelsea FC for £7.5m, which made him the then most expensive Danish football player. However, he was still sidelined with an injury until January 2001. His career at Chelsea lasted four years, and his erratic form caused much frustration for Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri and the Chelsea fans. However, at his best he could tear past even the best full-backs and he created some great and important goals for the club.

A notable example was when Grønkjær assisted the first goal and scored the second against Liverpool FC on the final day of the 2002-03 season at Stamford Bridge to give Chelsea a 2-1 victory and the important fourth place in the league, which allowed the club to qualify for the upcoming 2003-04 UEFA Champions League tournament. The importance of this result cannot be overstated, as qualification for the Champions League was considered essential to Roman Abramovich's impending takeover of the club.

In the 2003-04 UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg away at Highbury Stadium, Grønkjær came on for Scott Parker in the second half, with Arsenal FC leading 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate. Within six minutes of the substitution, Chelsea equalized through a goal by Frank Lampard. As Wayne Bridge scored three minutes before the final whistle, Chelsea went on to defeat Arsenal 3-2 on aggregate and book a place in the semi-finals.[5] In the following semi-final against AS Monaco, he scored from outside the penalty area with a cross-come-shot, but it was not enough for Chelsea to reach the final, as the club was defeated 5-3 on aggregate by Monaco.

Grønkjær also scored a strike in front of 67,000 fans at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the penultimate game of the 2003-04 season, the second of a three-game scoring streak. His final goal scored for Chelsea came the following week against Leeds United, where he scored the winner with a header in the first half.

While at Chelsea, Grønkjær became a mainstay in the Danish national team under new national team coach Morten Olsen, and he played in all of Denmark's four games at the 2002 World Cup. In the qualification games for Euro 2004, he scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over closest rivals Norway, helping Denmark qualify for the final tournament in Portugal. He missed the opening game of Euro 2004 due to the death of his mother, but went to Portugal to join the Danish squad and scored the second goal of the 2-0 win against Bulgaria.

A step down

Chelsea had fired manager Ranieri before Euro 2004, and Grønkjær left the club and started the 2004-05 season at league rivals Birmingham City. However, after a poor start with Birmingham, where he failed to adapt to the tactics of the team and scored only once against Lincoln City in the League Cup,[6] he was transferred to Atlético Madrid in January 2005 for a fee of around £2.5m. His spells with Birmingham and Atletico were a troubled time for Grønkjær, and in the summer of 2005 he transferred to Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart, where the club was building a formidable squad under manager Giovanni Trapattoni, with Grønkjær playing alongside fellow Dane Jon Dahl Tomasson.

However, despite the hype and expectations at the start of the season, the club struggled in mid-table. At the beginning of February 2006, Grønkjær and Tomasson openly criticised Trapattoni as "lacking the will to attack and win." The criticism came after 12 drawn games out of 20, and although Trapattoni wanted to assert his authority and benched both players in the next game, he himself was fired the very next day, on 9 February 2006.

Rumours in the German and Danish media suggested that Grønkjær would leave Stuttgart in favour of Danish club F.C. Copenhagen[7] and he was presented as a new player for the defending Danish champions on June 23, 2006.[8] Seen as an important player in F.C. Copenhagen's first UEFA Champions League campaign in the 2006-07 tournament, Grønkjær picked up a groin injury in a September 2006 match against S.L. Benfica. He was prognosed an eight to twelve week recovery,[9] and returned in a November game against Esbjerg fB in the Danish Cup. On December 6 2006, he scored his second Champions League goal in his career, against Celtic in a match FCK won 3-1 at Parken Stadium.

During 2007-08 and 2008-09 Grønkjær suffered several injuries and was out for most of both seasons. He recovered in early 2009 and at the end of 2008-09 season he had again earned a place in the starting line up.

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Denmark League Danish Cup League Cup Europe Total
1995-96 AaB Superliga 29 3
1996-97 28 1
1997-98 29 6
Netherlands League KNVB Cup League Cup Europe Total
1998-99 Ajax Eredivisie 25 8
1999-00 25 3
2000-01 5 1
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2000-01 Chelsea Premier League 14 1
2001-02 13 0
2002-03 30 4
2003-04 31 2
2004-05 Birmingham City Premier League 16 0
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
2004-05 Atlético Madrid La Liga 16 0
Germany League DFB-Pokal Premiere Ligapokal Europe Total
2005-06 Stuttgart Bundesliga 25 0
Denmark League Danish Cup League Cup Europe Total
2006-07 Copenhagen Superliga 21 5 4 0 6 1
2007-08 25 3 3 1 7 1
2008-09
Total Denmark 132 18
Netherlands 55 12
England 104 7
Spain 16 0
Germany 25 0
Career Total 332 37

International goals

Scores and results list Denmark's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 2001-04-25 Copenhagen, Denmark  Slovenia 1-0 3-0 Friendly match
2 2002-05-26 Wakayama, Japan  Tunisia 1-0 2-1 Friendly match
3 2003-06-07 Copenhagen, Denmark  Norway 1-0 1-0 Euro 2004 qual.
4 2003-08-20 Copenhagen, Denmark  Finland 1-0 1-1 Friendly match
5 2004-06-18 Braga, Portugal  Bulgaria 2-0 2-0 Euro 2004

Honours

References

  1. ^ a b Jesper Grønkjær at DanskFodbold.com
  2. ^ a b c d FootballDatabase career stats
  3. ^ Jesper Grönkjaer at FussballDaten.de
  4. ^ (Danish) Rasmus Bech, "Den aften, da Jesper Olsen blev glemt", Politiken article, March 28, 1999
  5. ^ Trevor Haylett, Bridge breaks Arsenal's hearts, UEFA.com, April 6, 2004
  6. ^ "Birmingham 3-1 Lincoln". BBC. 21 September 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/league_cup/3655968.stm. Retrieved 12 November 2009. 
  7. ^ (Danish) Jesper Grønkjær spøger i FCK, Politiken, May 27, 2006.
  8. ^ (Danish) FCK henter Jesper Grønkjær hjem, dr.dk, June 23, 2006
  9. ^ (Danish) Jesper Møller, Jesper Grønkjær ude i 8-12 uger, Danmarks Radio, September 15, 2006

External links


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