Man U's 'super sub' Solskjaer set to retire

Updated: 30 August 2007 16:55 IST

Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who scored the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final, has retired because of persistent knee prob

Man U's 'super sub' Solskjaer set to retire
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Manchester:

Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who scored the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final, has retired because of persistent knee problems.

The 34-year-old Solskjaer, who played almost half his games as a substitute during 11 years at United, has struggled with injury for four years and is quitting after several short-lived comebacks.

Solskjaer, who has not played since last season's FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea, announced his retirement on Tuesday. He will coach at United and be an ambassador for the club.

The former Norway international is hugely popular with United fans because of his modest manner and acceptance of his role behind more lauded strikers such as Eric Cantona, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

Solskjaer played at Old Trafford longer than any of his forward rivals and scored 128 goals in 367 matches, 150 of those games as a substitute.

"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," Solskjaer said. "They have been fantastic and were a real inspiration to me when I was out injured."

Nicknamed "The Baby-Faced Assassin" for his youthful looks and ability to score crucial goals, Solskjaer's most famous exploits, all as a substitute, came in 1999.

He scored four goals in 12 minutes in an 8-1 Premier League win at Nottingham Forest and, three months later, hit the second of two injury-time goals as United rallied to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the Champions League final.

"Ole has achieved everything a player could ever wish to achieve," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "He has been a great servant to the club and has always remained a model professional in his responsibility as a player, in his demeanor and his manners have always been exemplary."

Solskjaer joined United from Molde in July 1996 for 1.5 million pounds and scored on his debut, as a substitute, to salvage a 2-2 draw against Blackburn.

He became an integral part of Ferguson's squad, either in the starting lineup or on the bench. He was a regular starter in the 2001-02 season alongside Van Nistelrooy, but injuries and Ferguson's later switch to a lone striker formation forced him back onto the bench.

After just five games in two years because of the knee injury, Solskjaer seemed to have regained fitness last season. He regularly captained the team and hit 11 goals in 30 appearances to earn a sixth Premier League winner's medal but hurt his knee again in the offseason.

Topics : Football Bayern Munchen
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