Manchester United FC and Norway striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær has announced his retirement from football at the age of 34 due to a persistent knee injury.
The player said: "I would like to thank the manager, the coaching and medical staff and most of all the supporters, who have supported me through my career. They have been fantastic and were a real inspiration to me when I was out injured. The support the fans and the staff showed me during that time was the main motivation for me making my comeback. I feel proud to have represented Manchester United for eleven years and have some very special memories."
Solskjær joined United from Molde FK in 1996 and went on to win six Premier League titles and two FA Cups with the club, as well as scoring the winning goal in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final. In total, he notched up 91 goals in 235 league games for United, making his final appearance for the club as a substitute in last season's FA Cup final, which United lost 1-0 to Chelsea FC. He will remain at the club as a coach, much to Sir Alex Ferguson's delight.
"Ending your playing career is a sad day for anyone," said Sir Alex. "In the case of Ole, he has eleven fantastic years he can look back on.
Ole has achieved everything a player could ever wish to achieve. He has been a great servant to the club and has always remained a model professional and his manners have always been exemplary. Ole will hopefully go on to be a good coach."
Solskjær also played 67 games for Norway, scoring 23 goals and representing his country at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000™. Egil Olsen coached him at his international peak summed up his talents, saying: "He isn't especially quick, strong or good in the air. What set him aside from others was his finishing. He almost always scored when he got a clear chance and he was always where the ball fell in the area."
'An example to everybody'
Current Norway coach Åge Hareide, who was also Solskjær's boss at Molde, added: "He is one of the nicest men I have ever worked with. It is sad when such a career comes to an end, but Ole Gunnar has many happy memories to look back on. I never dreamed that he would score the winning goal in a UEFA Champions League final. He is a brilliant footballer, but I also appreciate him as a person. The way he behaves is an example to everybody."
Norway goalkeeper Thomas Myhre was sure that history would remember Solskjær as one of his nation's all-time greats. "There is no doubt that Ole Gunnar Solskjær is Norwegian football's best known name ever," he said. "He is a very good player that has been unlucky with injuries.
When his initial disappointment at having to retire dies down he will realise that he has had an extraordinary career."
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