Former R. Standard de Liège, FC Bayern München and VfB Stuttgart midfielder Ásgeir Sigurvinsson has been named as Iceland's best player of all time in a poll organised by the Football Association of Iceland and a television channel.
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In a poll organised by the Football Association of Iceland and a television channel, Sigurvinsson was elected into first place in a survey where 70 per cent of the votes came from a seven-strong expert panel and the rest from a public poll. Sigurvinsson, capped 45 times between 1972 and 1989, was on a ten-man shortlist including Albert Gudmundsson, Pétur Pétursson, Eidur Gudjohnsen, his father Arnór Gudjohnsen, Rúnar Kristinsson, Gudni Bergsson, Ríkhardur Jónsson, Atli Edvaldsson and Sigurdur Jónsson.
Born and raised in the Vestmanna Islands, a fishing dwelling off the south coast with a population of 4,000 and a talent for producing footballers, Sigurvinsson played for the local team ÍBV Vestmanna and in 1972, aged 17, became the youngest ever player capped by Iceland. The following year he moved to Standard, and after winning the 1980/81 Belgian Cup joined Bayern. A season later he went to Stuttgart, lifting the 1983/84 Bundesliga title and reaching the 1988/89 UEFA Cup final. Sigurvinsson retired, as club captain, in 1990. He was also voted Icelandic sportsman of the year in 1974 and 1984, in the latter year being chosen as Bundesliga players' player. Sigurvinsson was named Iceland's Golden Player to mark UEFA's 50th anniversary in 2004, to read the citation click here.
"I am proud to be in this shortlist, everybody could have won and I knew I had a chance like the others so I am proud and happy," said Sigurvinsson, who coached Iceland between 2002 and 2005. "Many people around the world have told me that it is amazing such a small nation can produce so many good football players who have made it in the best teams in Europe. We have never made it to the finals of the big tournaments, we cannot expect that since there are too few of us. [But Icelandic players] will improve for sure. Our facilities are much better now and there are new generations coming up but this is a small country and it is difficult to produce a good football team."