Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (born 26 February 1973) is a Norwegian football manager and former forward who most recently managed Premier League club Manchester United. Solskjær spent the majority of his playing career with Manchester United and also represented Norway on 67 occasions.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was born in the West Coast of Norway on February 26, 1973, to his mother, Brita Solskjaer, and father, Oivind Solskjaer. Solskjaer was born into a sporting family with humble origins. He grew up on the small Norwegian island of Kristiansund. His father was a Greco-Roman wrestler who won the Norwegian championship for five years. Between 1966 and 1971, Oivind Solskjaer was Norway’s No. 1 Greco-Roman wrestler. Initially, Solskjaer senior hoped that his son would follow in his foot prints. Wrestling was unfortunately too rough for Ole as a child. He tried the sport for three years, but his frail frame worked against him as he struggled to match his father’s accomplishments. Both parents sympathised with their son, who was given the nickname “Tiny Ole” early on. They despised him being thrown around and pinned down by opponents. Brita and Oivind had had enough and insisted that their son stop participating in sports. This marked the end of an era in wrestling.
Ole had a passion for football in addition to wrestling. He even slept with a ball every night but couldn’t use it. He fell in love with football shows after spending a lot of time watching television. After watching football on TV, young Solskjaer spent hours kicking a football on a sandy and gravel pitch near his home.
It didn’t take long for his parents to persuade him to pursue his newfound sport. Solskjaer’s dedication and new talent saw him enrol as a young prospect at his hometown club Clausengen at the age of eight.
Solskjaer’s Playing Career
At the age of 17, Solskjaer made his debut for ‘CFK’ in 1990. In 1994, he finished his final season with more than half of ‘CFK’s goals in his favour.
In 109 games for the club, he scored 115 goals. He was later signed for NOK 200,000 by the club ‘Molde’.
On April 22, 1995, he made his debut for ‘Molde’ against ‘Brann,’ scoring twice and leading his team to victory. In his next match, he scored a hat-trick against ‘Viking.’
Ole scored the fourth goal for ‘Molde’ in his last game. He scored 41 goals in 54 games this season. ‘Manchester United’ then signed him.
On July 29, 1996, he joined ‘Manchester United’. When Ole made his Manchester United debut, he was a “nobody” in the giant club. Nonetheless, he became one of the best buys of the season. He made his debut as a substitute against ‘Blackburn Rovers’ on August 25, 1996, and scored his first goal within 6 minutes.
He won his first ‘Premier League’ title with ‘Manchester United,’ becoming the club’s top scorer for the season. In his first season, he scored 18 ‘Premier League’ goals in 33 appearances.
He scored the game-winning goal against ‘Bayern Munich’ in 1999, helping his club win the ‘UEFA Champions’ League’ and complete the “treble.” Because of his aggressive game and innocent appearance, he was dubbed the “Baby-faced Assassin” by the media.
He finished the season with 12 goals in 19 league games. He also competed in the ‘FIFA World Cup’ in 1998 and the ‘UEFA Euro’ in 2000. In November 1999, he won his first ‘Intercontinental Cup’ after defeating ‘Palmeiras’ 1-0. ‘Manchester’ won the ‘Premier League’ as well.
He was side-lined by an injury until 2004, when he returned to play in his club’s ‘FA Cup Final,’ which they won. However, he required knee surgery and was forced to miss the entire 2004-2005 season.
Because his jersey number was 20, his fans added “20 LEGEND” to the banners. This was intended to encourage and support his comeback. Ole made his comeback on December 5, 2005, against ‘Liverpool.’
Unfortunately, Ugo Ehiogu broke his cheek bone in a match against ‘Middlesbrough’ on March 8, 2006. As a result of the injury, he was forced to miss the rest of the season.
On August 23, 2006, he returned to the Premier League.
On June 5, 2007, it was announced that Ole would undergo minor surgery but would not be able to return to the field, and thus would retire from professional football. Ole was the highest goal-scorer for ‘Manchester United’ as a substitute at the time of his retirement, with 28 goals off the bench.
From March 2019 to November 2021, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the manager of Manchester United. Before entering management, Solskjaer had a successful playing career.
Solskjaer joined Manchester United from Norwegian club Molde in 1996 and spent 11 seasons at Old Trafford, scoring 91 goals in 235 Premier League appearances and assisting his team to six PL titles.
The Norwegian international scored the game-winning goal in extra time for Manchester United against Bayern Munich in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final.
He is also the only substitute to score four goals in a Premier League match, which he accomplished in a 19-minute cameo against Nottingham Forest in 1999.
After retiring in 2007, Solskjaer continued working for Sir Alex Ferguson, coaching the first-team strikers before taking over as manager of Manchester United.
He took over as manager of Molde in November 2010 and led his former club to their first league title in their 100-year history.
Molde defended their title before winning the Norwegian Cup the following season.
Solskjaer’s first Premier League managerial position came in January 2014, when he was named manager of Cardiff City, who were one point above the relegation zone.
After finishing 20th in the Premier League, the Bluebirds were relegated.
After eight months at Cardiff City, Solskjaer returned to Molde, who had finished runners-up in the Norwegian top flight for the previous two seasons.
He was named caretaker manager of Manchester United for the remainder of the season in December 2018.
Following 10 wins out of 13 in the Premier League and a comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, the Norwegian was rewarded with a three-year contract.
Solskjaer led Manchester United to third place in his first full season in charge, securing UEFA Champions League qualification for the 2020/21 season.
However, in the 2020/21 season, United finished second in the Premier League, 12 points behind champions Manchester City, and lost the Europa League final on penalties to Villarreal.
Solskjaer left Old Trafford in November 2021, with the Red Devils seventh in the table, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Trophies won by Solskjaer as a manager
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a Manchester United club legend and fan favourite due to his heroics in the 1999 Champions League final, scoring a last-minute winner against Bayern Munich to clinch not only the European title, but also the prestigious Treble.
Solskjaer has won the most prestigious awards during his time as manager of Molde, including the Tippeligaen (the top of Norway’s football league system) and the Norwegian Football Cup (the country’s premier cup competition).
Solskjaer has also won the Lancashire Senior Cup and the Manchester Senior Cup as manager of Manchester United Reserves.
However, as manager of Manchester United’s senior team, Solskjaer has yet to win a major trophy. The closest he has come to winning a trophy with United is when he reached the Europa League final in 2020-21, but was defeated on penalties by Villarreal.
Honour Club Year(s) won
Lancashire Senior Cup Manchester United Reserves 2007-08
Manchester Senior Cup Manchester United Reserves 2008-09
Premier Reserve League North Manchester United Reserves 2009-10
Tippeligaen Molde 2011
Norwegian Football Cup Molde 2013
Europa League Runner-up Manchester United 2020-21
How many trophies has Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won as player?
Solskjaer’s trophy cabinet is full from his playing days, having won six Premier League titles with Manchester United (including winning the Treble in 1998-99, consisting of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup).
He also won the Community Shield twice with Manchester United, in 1996 and 2003.
Ole is a married man who lived in Bramhall with his wife, Silje, during his time in England. The couple has three children. Noah Solskjaer, their eldest son, was born in June 2000, before the couple married. He currently plays as a midfielder for Kristiansund. Karna Solskjaer, the couple’s first and only child, was born in 2003. She currently plays for Manchester United Women’s Football Club. Elijah Solskjaer, their second and youngest son, was born in 2008, and little is known about him.
Honours bestowed upon Solskjaer
King Harald V of Norway bestowed the First-Class Knighthood of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav on Solskjaer on October 24, 2008. The award was presented to him the next day in his hometown of Kristiansund. Solskjær is the youngest person ever to be awarded the knighthood, which is usually bestowed on notable members of society in their later years.
In a ceremony held at Vinstra Hall in 2009, the Norwegian parliament presented Solskjær with its yearly Peer Gynt Prize in recognition of his efforts as a deserving sports ambassador and for his “great social commitment.”
Where is Ole Gunnar now?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been out of work since November 2021, when he was fired by Manchester United. Solskjaer is currently residing in his hometown of Kristiansund on Norway’s western coast.