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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

The Scandinavian Connection

Scandinavians are not famous for their domestic leagues. Norway and Sweden even play in different periods of the year compared to other European leagues. They have however produced some excellent, good or just decent players. Many of these have played abroad especially in Germany and England but also in Italy. Here is a brief history of some who have passed through Italy and a few who have played for Lazio.



Source Goodfon.com

Denmark


Denmark have participated in 6 World Cups, their best result being the quarter finals of 1988. They have taken part in 9 European Championships and stunned Europe by winning in 1992. Denmark's top players in history include Harald Nielsen, Alen Simonsen, Preben Elkjaer Larsen, Peter Schmeichel, Michael Laudrup, Morten Olsen, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Christian Eriksen.


Dennark are currently ranked 21st in the world by FIFA

 

Here are some Danes who played in Italy and for Lazio.

 

1950's


  • Helge Bronée - forward (Palermo 1950-52, Roma 1952-54, Juventus 1954-55, Novara 1955-56, 177 league games and 56 league goals)

  • Axel Pilmark - midfielder (Bologna 1950-59, 274 league games and 4 goals)

  • Ivan Tage Jensen - defender (Bologna 1949-56, 181 league games and 1 goal)

  • Johannes Ploger - forward (Juventus 1948-49, Novara 1949-50, Torino 1950-51, Udinese 1951-54, 138 league games and 17 league goals)

 

John Hansen - forward - Lazio


John Hansen arrived at Lazio after six seasons with Juventus (188 league games, 124 goals and 2 Scudetti)

 

At Lazio the manager was first Federico Allasio and then George Raynor. Lazio struggled and finished 12th but Hansen helped with an impressive 15 goals in 27 league games. He only stayed one season and at 30 went back to Denmark and to his original club, Frem.

 

Karl Aage Praest- midfielder-Lazio


Karl Aage Praest arrived at Lazio in 1956 from Juventus, where he had played 7 seasons (233 league games, 51 goals and 2 Scudetti).

 

At Lazio the manager was Englishman, Jesse Carver. The Biancocelesti had an excellent season finishing 3rd. Praest however only played 7 league games. He then retired at 35.

 

1960's


  • Harald Nielsen - forward (Bologna 1961-67, Inter 1967-68, Napoli 1968-69, Sampdoria 1969-70, 179 league games and 85 league goals with 1 Scudetto with Bologna)

  • Flemmimg Nielsen - midfielder (Atalanta 1961-64, 91 league games and 8 league goals with 1 Coppa Italia)

 

Kurt Christensen - midfielder - Lazio


Kurt Christensen arrived at Lazio from Atalanta in 1964. He had been with the Bergamaschi for three seasons in Serie A, winning a Coppa Italia and playing 25 league games with 3 goals.

 

At Lazio he stayed one season, under Umberto Mannocci. The Biancocelesti finished 14th and he played 20 league games with 3 goals (Catania x2, Vicenza) plus 2 games in Coppa Italia. His nickname was Flipper. His teammates included future manager and legend Eugenio Fascetti.

 

After Lazio he played for Catania and then Odense back in his homeland.

 

In 1966 following Italy's disastrous World Cup campaign (eliminated by North Korea) the borders were closed. No more new foreign players were allowed until 1980-81.

 

1980's


  • Preben Elkjaer Larsen (Verona 1984-88, 91 league games and 32 league goals with 1 Scudetto 1984)

  • Klaus Berggreen - midfielder (Pisa 1982-86, Roma 1986-87, Torino 1987-88, 174 league games and 37 league goals)

 

Michael Laudrup - midfielder/forward - Lazio


Source Lazio Wiki

Michael Laudrup arrived at Lazio from Brøndby but was on loan from Juventus. He was only 19 and Lazio were newly promoted. He stayed two seasons. These were the years of Giorgio Chinaglia's presidency, full of financial uncertainty and difficulty.

 

In the first, 1983-84, under Juan Carlos Morrone and then Paolo Carosi Lazio struggled but survived. Laudrup or "Michelino", as he was called in Rome, played 30 league games and scored 8 goals (Verona x2, Inter, Catania, Juventus, Fiorentina, Napoli x2) plus 5 games in Coppa Italia.

 

His second year went worse. Lazio started off with Carosi then, an already past it, Juan Carlos Lorenzo and finally the Giancarlo Oddi-Bob Lovati duo. The Biancocelesti were relegated and Laudrup played 30 league games and scored 1 goal (Como) plus 5 games in Coppa Italia with 3 goals (Padova, Pistoiese, Varese).

 

He had difficulty adapting to life in Italy and Serie A with its tactical defensiveness and tough man to man marking.

 

In Rome however Laudrup showed flashes of his immense talent and class. It was obvious he would go on to better things which he certainly did playing for Juventus and then both Barcelona and Real Madrid. His successes include 1 Scudetto, 5 Ligas, 1 European Cup and 1 Intercontinental Cup. A superb player.

 

1990's


  • Brian Laudrup - midfielder (Fiorentina 1992-93, Milan 1993-94,40 league games and 6 league goals)

  • Henrik Larsen - midfielder (Pisa 1990-91, 1992-93, 41 league games and 1 league goal)

  • Morten Bisgaard - midfielder (Udinese 1998-2001, 36 league games and 1 league goal)

  • Peter Knudsen - midfielder (Bari 1998-99, and 3 league goals)

  • Thomas Helveg - defender (Udinese 1993-98, Milan 1998-2003, Inter 2003-04, 269 league games and 6 league goals, with 1 Scudetto and 1 Coppa Italia with Milan)

  • Andreas Limpar - midfielder (Cremonese 1989-90, 24 league games and 3 goals)

  • Jonas Thern - midfielder (Napoli 1992-94, Roma 1994-97, 107 league games and 4 goals)

 

2000's


  • Jon Dahl Tomasson - forward (Milan 2002-05, 75 league games and 22 league goals with 1 Scudetto, 1 Coppa Italia and 1 Champions League)

  • Per Krøldrup - defender (Udinese 2001-05, Fiorentina 2006-12, Pescara 2013, 204 league games and 6 league goals)

  • Martin Jørgensen - midfielder (Udinese 1997-2004, Fiorentina 2004-10, 335 league games and 44 league goals)

  • Christian Poulsen - midfielder (Juventus 2008-10, 48 league games and 1 league goal)

 

Christian Keller - midfielder - Lazio


Christian Keller arrived at Lazio from Torino in 2005. The Granata had signed him in June but then went bankrupt and were excluded from Serie A and restarted in B so Keller joined Lazio.

 

The manager was Delio Rossi and Lazio finished 6th but were then demoted to 16th after being docked 30 points for their involvement in the Calciopoli scandal. Keller played 7 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia.

 

He did not convince Lazio to keep him on and his next club was Stabaek in Norway. He later played for Kasimpasa in Turkey, then Randers and Viborg in Denmark.

 

2010-2024

 

  • Christian Nørgaard - midfielder (Fiorentina 2018-19, 6 league games)

  • Jacob Rasmussen - defender (Empoli 2018-19, Fiorentina 2019-20, 14 league games)

  • Joachim Andersen - defender (Sampdoria 2017-19, 39 league games)

  • Nicklas Bendtner - forward (Juventus 2012-13, 9 league games)

  • Matti Nielsen - midfielder (Pescara 2012-13, Verona 2013, Pescara 2013-15, Perugia 2015, 89 league games and 4 league goals)

  • Simon Kjaer - defender (Palermo 2008-10, Roma 2011-12, Atalanta 2019-20, Milan 2020-present, 180 league games and 5 league goals))

  • Andreas Cornelius - forward (Atalanta 2017-18, 2019 Parma, 78 league games and 16 league goals) 

  • Jens Stryger Larsen - defender (Udinese 2017-22, 143 league games and 5 league goals)

  • Andreas Skov Olsen - midfielder (Bologna 2019-22, 70 league games and 3 league goals)

  • Christian Eriksen - midfielder (Inter 2020-21, 43 league games and 4 league goals)

  • Rasmus Højlund - forward (Atalanta 2022-23, 32 league games and 9 goals)

 

Riza Durmisi - defender- Lazio


Riza Durmisi arrived at Lazio from Betis Seville in 2018. The manager was Simone Inzaghi and Lazio finished 8th but won the Coppa Italia. Durmisi played 10 league games, 2 in Coppa Italia and 7 in Europa League.

 

The following year, in January, he left on loan to play for Nice in France before making any further appearances for Lazio.

 

He returned to Lazio in 2020 but again before playing left on loan to Salernitana in January.

 

He was back in in 2021 with manager Maurizio Sarri but left again on loan in January, this time to Sparta Rotterdam.

 

He then had further loan periods at Leganés and Tenerife in Spain before being sold to LKS Lódź in Poland.

 

It is fair to say Durmisi was not a success at Lazio, playing at left back, as he was weak defensively.

 

Gustav Isaksen - forward - Lazio


Gustav Isaksen arrived at Lazio in 2023 from Midtjylland where he had impressed in two Europa League games as an opponent.

 

At Lazio the manager was first Maurizio Sarri and then, from mid-March, Croat Igor Tudor. Isaksen played 28 league games with 3 goals (Frosinone, Bologna, Salernitana), 3 games in Coppa Italia and 5 games in the Champions League.

 

There are currently 10 Danes in Serie A: Victor Kristiansen (Bologna), Oliver Christensen (Fiorentina), Morten Frendrup (Genoa), Gustav Isaksen (Lazio), Jeppe Corfitzen (Lecce), Jesper Lindstrom (Napoli), Rasmus Kristensen (Roma), Thomas Kristensen (Udinese), Simon Kjaer (Milan), Patrick Dorgu (Lecce)

 

6 in Serie B: Oliver Abligard (Como), Andreas Jungdal (Cremonese), Magnus kofod Andersen (Venezia), Simon Graves (Palermo), Christian Gytkjaer (Venezia), Frederik Sörensen (Ternana)

 

Sweden 


Sweden have participated in 12 World Cups, their best result being runners up in their home tournament in 1958. They have taken part in 7 European Championships, reaching the semi-final in 1992. At club level the Swedes have won 2 UEFA Cups with IFK Göteborg (1982, 1987). Sweden's top players in their history include; Johan Gunnar Gren, Nils Gunnar Nordahl, Nils Liedholm, Kurt Hamrin, Hans Jeppson, Lennart Skoglund, Fredrik Ljungberg, Henrik Larsen and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

 

Sweden are currently ranked 27th by FIFA.

 

Here are some who have played in Italy and for Lazio.

 

1950's and 60's


  • Johan Gunnar Gren - midfielder (Milan 1949-53, Fiorentina 1953-55, Genoa 1955-56, 217 league games and 45 goals with 1 Scudetto)

  • Nils Gunnar Nordahl - forward (Milan 1949-55, Roma 1956-58, 291 league games and 225 goals with 2 Scudetti and a record 5 times top Serie A scorer)

  • Nils Liedholm - midfielder (Milan 1949-61, 359 league games and 81 goals with 4 Scudetti)

 

These first three made up the formidable and unforgettable Gre-No-Li trio.

 

  • Bengt Lindskog - midfielder (Udinese 1956-58, Inter 1958-61, Lecco 1961-64, 211 league games and 69 goals)

  • Jan Aronsson - midfielder (Vicenza 1956-58, 63 league games and 16 goals)

  • Stig Sundqvist - midfielder (Roma 1950-53, 78 league games and 20 goals)

  • Åke Hjalmarsson - midfielder (Torino 1949-50 and 1951-52, 39 league games and 10 goals)

  • Karl Lennart Skoglund - forward (Inter 1950-59, Sampdoria 1959-62, Palermo 1962-63, 235 league games and 70 goals)

  • Hans "Hasse" Olof Jeppson - forward (Atalanta 1951-52, Napoli 1952-56, Torino 1956-57, 158 league games and 81 goals)

  • Bengt Gustavsson - defender (Atalanta 1956-61, 145 league games)

  • Kurt Hamrin - forward (Juventus 1956-57, Padova 1957-58, Fiorentina 1958-67, Milan 1967-69, Napoli 1969-71, 400 league games and 191 goals, with 1 Scudetto, 1 European Cup and 1 Cup Winners Cup with Milan and 1 Cup Winners Cup and 2 Coppa Italias with Fiorentina)

  • Rune Börjesson - midfielder (Juventus 1961, Palermo 1961-63, 38 league games and 10 goals)

 

Arne Selmosson - forward- Lazio


Source Wikipedia

Arne Selmosson arrived at Lazio from Udinese in 1955. He stayed three seasons with the Biancocelesti.

 

In 1955-56 the manager was first Luigi Ferrero and then Jesse Carver and Lazio finished 3rd. Selmosson played 34 league games with 10 goals (Padova, Atalanta, Inter, Triestina, Bologna, Inter, SPAL, Juventus, Pro Patria, Genoa).

 

In 1956-57 the manager was Carver and Lazio finished 3rd again. Selmosson played 34 league games and scored 12 goals (Bologna, Atalanta, Triestina, Padova, Genoa, Torino, Palermo, Fiorentina, Bologna, Roma, Napoli, Torino).

 

In 1957-58 the manager was first Mirovan Ćirić and then Alfredo Monza. Lazio finished 12th and Selmosson played 33 league games and scored 9 goals (Bologna, Inter, Napoli, Atalanta, Napoli, Roma, Juventus, Torino, Verona). In the summer and autumn Lazio then won the Coppa Italia under Fulvio Bernardini but Selmosson had already left for Roma….

 

Lazio were in financial difficulty and had to sell but unfortunately Roma were the highest bidders so reluctantly the Swede was forced to cross the Tiber to the Giallorossi. It was a huge event in Rome as he was immensely popular. At Lazio he played 101 league games with 31 goals.

 

He then spent three seasons with Roma before returning to Udinese for another three.

 

"Raggio di Luna" (Moonbeam) as he was known played 295 league games in Italy with 93 goals. He is one of only three players to have scored for both sides in a Roman derby (with Pedro and Kolarov). He was a great success in Italy.

 

Sigvard Löfgren - midfielder - Lazio


Sigvard Löfgren, known as "Sigge", arrived at Lazio from Helsingborg in 1951. He stayed four seasons.

 

In 1951-52 the manager was Giuseppe Bigogno and Lazio finished 4th. Löfgren played 20 league games with 7 goals (Lucchese, Atalanta, Bologna, Milan, Triestina, Inter, Triestina). A good first season.

 

In 1952-53 Bigogno started but was replaced by Alfredo Notti after 25 games. Lazio finished 10th and Löfgren was out all season due to injury. With Roma back in Serie A Lazio won both derbies.

 

In 1953-54 Mario Sperone started as manager but was replaced by Federico Allasio after 24 games. Lazio finished 11th and Löfgren played 18 league games with 1 goal (Triestina).

 

In 1954-55 Allasio started but was replaced by George Raynor after 7 games. Lazio finished 12th and Löfgren played 24 league games with 2 goals (SPAL, Genoa). Lazio won another derby 3-1 and also beat Juventus 2-1 and Inter 3-2.

 

He then left Lazio after 62 league games and 10 goals.

 

He spent one more season at SPAL. He played a total of 85 league games in Italy with 19 goals.

 

1980's


  • Glenn Hysén - defender (Fiorentina 1987-89, 61 league games and 1 goal)

  • Glenn Strömberg - midfielder (Atalanta 1984-92, 219 league games and 18 goals)

  • Robert Prytz - midfielder (Atalanta 1988-89, Verona 1989-93, 152 league games and 22 goals)

 

1990's


  • Tomas Brolin - forward (Parma 1990-95, 1997, 148 league games and 20 goals, 1 Coppa Italia, 1 Cup Winners Cup, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 UEFA Super Cup)

  • Klas Ingesson - midfielder (Bari 1995-98, Bologna 1998-2000, Lecce 2001, 177 league games and 16 goals)

  • Stefan Schwarz - midfielder (Fiorentina 1995-98, 78 league games and 2 goals, 1 Coppa Italia and 1 Supercoppa Italiana)

  • Jesper Blomqvist - midfielder (Milan 1996-97, Parma 1997-98, 47 league games and 2 goals)

 

Kennet Andersson - forward - Lazio


Kennet Andersson arrived at Lazio from Bologna on loan in 1999. The manager was compatriot Sven-Goran Eriksson but Andersson did not get much playing time, faced with competition from Marcelo Salas, Alen Boksic, Simone Inzaghi and Roberto Mancini. In November he returned to Bologna after playing only 2 league games. In Bologna he continued to do well. In Italy before Bologna, he played at Bari for a season and when he left for Turkey in June 2000, he had played 149 league games and scored 45 goals.

 

2000-2024


  • Zlatan Ibrahimović - forward (Juventus 2004-06, Inter 2006-09, Milan 2010-2012 and 2020-23, 283 league games and 156 goals, 5 Scudetti, 3 Supercoppe Italiane)

  • Dejan Kulusevski - midfielder (Atalanta 2018-19, Parma 2019-20, Juventus 2020-22, 94 league games and 15 goals, 1 Coppa, 1 Supercoppa Italiana)

  • Olof Mellberg - defender (Juventus 2008-09, 27 league games and 2 goals)

 

Sweden also had two highly successful managers.


Sven-Göran Eriksson (Roma 1984-87, Fiorentina 1987-89, Sampdoria 1992-97, Lazio 1997-2001). He won the Coppa Italia 4 times (2 with Lazio), the Supercoppa Italiana twice (both with Lazio), a Cup Winners Cup (Lazio), a European Super Cup (Lazio) and above all a historic Scudetto with Lazio in 1999-2000.

 

Nils Liedholm (Milan 1964-66, Verona 1966-68, Monza 1968-69, Varese 1969-71, Fiorentina 1971-73, Roma 1973-77, Milan 1977-79, Roma 1979-84, Milan 1984-87, Roma 1987-89 as technical director, 1992 Verona, 1997 Roma). He won the Scudetto twice (Milan, Roma) and the Coppa Italia 3 times plus a Serie B championship with Varese.

 

There are currently 6 Swedes in Serie A; Emil Holm (Atalanta), Jesper Karlsson (Bologna), Emanuel Ekong (Empoli), Pontus Almqvist (Lecce), Jens Cajuste (Napoli), Isak Hien (Verona)

 

4 in Serie B: Alexander Jallow (Brescia), Riccardo Gagliolo (Ascoli), Peter Amoran (Parma), Zinedin Smajlovic (Lecco)

 

Norway


Norway have participated in 3 World Cups, reaching the last 16 in 1938 and 1998 (when they famously beat Brazil 2-1). They have also taken part in 1 European Championship, in 2000. The best players in their history include: Tom Lund, Odd Iversen, Henning Berg, Tore André Flo, John Carew, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Erik Thorstvedt, John Arne Riise, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and nowadays Martin Ødegaard and Erling Haaland.

 

Norway are currently ranked 47th in the world by FIFA.

 

Here are some Norwegians who have played in Italy and for Lazio.

 

1950's

 

  • Kurt Andersen - midfielder (Padova 1951-53, 43 league games and 6 goals)

  • Finn Gundersen - midfielder and ice hockey international (Verona 1957-59, 24 league games and 3 goals)


Per Bredesen - midfielder - Lazio

Source Lazio Wiki

Per Bredesen arrived at Lazio in 1952 from Ørn-Horten. He stayed three seasons. He was known as "Varechina" (Bleach) for the blondness of his hair, almost white.

 

In 1952-53 the manager was first Giuseppe Bigogno (1-25) and then Alfredo Notti (25-34). Lazio finished 10th and Bredesen played 32 league games with 6 goals (Novara, Pro Patria, Milan, SPAL, Palermo, Bologna). Lazio won both derbies.

 

In 1953-54 the manager was first Mario Sperone (1-24) and then Federico Allasio (25-34) and Lazio finished 11th. Bredesen played 32 league games and scored 6 goals (Udinese, Fiorentina, SPAL, Genoa, Sampdoria x2).

 

In 1954-55 the manager was Allasio (1-7) and then George Raynor (8-34). Lazio finished 12th and Bredesen played 29 league games with 7 goals (Juventus, Napoli, Juventus x2, Fiorentina, Napoli, Milan). Bredesen scored a brace in a 2-1 win against Juventus and Lazio also beat Roma 3-1. At Lazio he played 93 league games and scored 19 goals.

 

Bredesen was then sold to Udinese in the deal that brought Arne Selmosson to Rome. A pity as Bredesen was a big success with Lazio.

He then spent a season at Udine, 2 with Milan, 1 with Bari and 2 with Messina.

 

In total in Italy, he played 224 league games and scored 50 goals. He won a Scudetto with Milan and a Serie B championship with Udinese.

 

Ragnar Larsen - midfielder - Lazio


Ragnar Nikolay Larsen arrived at Lazio in 1951 from Sandaker. He stayed two seasons.

 

In 1951-52 the manager was Giuseppe Bigogno and Lazio finished 4th Larsen played 26 league games and scored 7 goals (Napoli, Novara, SPAL, Udinese, Padova x2, Milan).

 

In 1952-53 the manager was first Giuseppe Bigogno (1-25) and then Alfredo Notti (25-34). Lazio finished 10th and Larsen played 31 league games with 7 goals (Novara, Napoli x2, Sampdoria, Torino, SPAL, Como). Roma were back in Serie A but Lazio won both derbies.

 

In 1953 he moved to Genoa where he stayed 3 seasons. In Italy, in total he played 149 league games with 19 goals.

 

At Lazio he had a positive spell, combining well with compatriot Per Bredesen in the 52-53 season.

 

1990's


  • Steinar Nilsen - defender (Milan 1997-98, Napoli 1998-2001, 56 league games and 1 goal)

  • Runar Berg - midfielder (Venezia 1999-2001, 30 league games and 2 goals)

  • Petter Rudi - midfielder (Perugia 1996-97, 14 league games and 1 goal)

 

2000-2024


  • John Arne Riise - defender/midfielder (Roma 2008-11, 99 league games and 11 goals)

  • John Carew - forward (Roma 2003-04, 20 league games and 6 goals)

  • Tore André Flo "Flonaldo" - forward (Siena 2003-05, 63 league games and 13 goals)

  • Haitam Aleesami - defender (Palermo 2016-19, 90 league games and 1 goal)

  • Erik Huseklepp - forward (Bari 2011, 14 league games and 2 goals)

  • Rafik Zekhnini - forward (Fiorentina 2017-18, 1 league game)

  • Jens Petter Hauge - forward (Milan 2020-21, 18 league games and 5 goals)

  • Stefan Strandberg - defender (Trapani 2019-20, Salernitana 2021-22, 23 league games)

 

Valon Berisha - midfielder- Lazio


He is Norwegian and has 20 caps for Norway but from 2016 he represents Kosovo as he has dual nationality.

 

He arrived at Lazio in 2018 from Salzburg. The Austrians had eliminated the Romans in the previous Europa League and Berisha had been excellent.

 

In 2018-19 the manager was Simone Inzaghi and Lazio finished 8th. There was glory in the Coppa Italia however when they beat Atalanta to win their 7th title. Berisha disappointed, playing 8 league games, 1 in Coppa Italia and 5 in Europa League.

 

The following year, still under Inzaghi, he played even less, only 3 league games, 1 in Coppa and 4 in Europa League. In January he left on loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf. He never returned. A huge disappointment as Lazio had great hopes in him but he never gave any signs of being the player Lazio had admired as an opponent.

 

There are also currently 9 Norwegians playing in Italy.


5 in A: Leo Østigård (Napoli), Emil Bohinen (Genoa on loan from Salernitana), Emil Konradsen Ceide (Sassuolo), Morten Thorsby (Genoa on loan from Union Berlin) and Marcus Pedersen (Sassuolo).

 

2 in B: Kristoffer Askildsen (Sampdoria), Dennis Johnsen (Cremonese)


Plus

Julian Kristoffersen (Pro Sesto), Martin Palumbo (Juventus Next Gen).

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