Football star unlikely to kick back

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Steffen Iversen has been making headlines in Norway lately, over details of his life revealed in a new biography and for last week’s confirmation that he intends to retire early next month. His current club Rosenborg’s match against Bayer Leverkusen n December 6 will be his last in the top leagues.

Steffen Iversen is leaving the football field. PHOTO: Wikipedia/Kjetil Ree

Iversen, who turned 36 on Saturday, has been in the game a long time. Some might say from birth, since his father was another Norwegian football legend, Odd Iversen. His dad wasn’t around much in his youth, according to the biography also released last week, but Iversen clearly inherited talent for football.

He debuted with top Norwegian club Rosenborg in 1995 and that’s where he’s ending his career as well. He was only 18 when he stepped in for player Tom Kåre Staurvik at a home-turf match against Kongsvinger and ended up taking the league by storm, as the Norwegians are fond of saying.

He was sold to Tottenham after just a year, played there for large sums at the time until 2003 when he transferred to Wolverhampton. Iversen was often plagued by injury and came home to Norway and Vålerenga in Oslo in 2004. Then it was back to Rosenborg before another stint in England for Crystal Palace and Rosenborg again from this year.

In the meantime he also played in 76 matches for Norway’s national team and scored 21 goals, two more than his father.

It was in the last chapter of his new biography, written by Anders Mølster Galaasen, that the news of his retirement broke: “The only thing certain is that now it’s over,” wrote Galaasen. “He can look back on 18 seasons at the top levels. Innumerable goals. Victories and championships. 36 years in the media spotlight (because he was shown on TV as a baby when his father was playing).”

The book reveals what it was like for Iversen to grow up as Odd Iversen’s son, about his life as a bohemian, a bachelor in London and parties with the likes of Brad Pitt and Will Smith.

“I stand for everything in the book,” Iversen told newspaper Adresseavisen in Trondheim, where Rosenborg is based, also for his suggestion that he was offered money under the table to stay at Rosenborg years ago, something club officials at the time deny. He doesn’t regret that he’s leaving the  game for good.

“No, this is my decision,” he told adressa.no. “My body is telling me it’s over, especially after the last months of achilles trouble. But I’m a restless person, so I need something to do in the years ahead. We’ll see what happens.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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