UPDATED: It’s been a memorable week for Åge Hareide, the Norwegian football coach who most recently was the popular leader of both Denmark’s national team and Malmö in Sweden. Hareide made a triumphant return to his roots on Tuesday, when rumours were confirmed that he’d resume leadership of Norway’s biggest football club, Rosenborg of Trondheim. Two days later, he was knighted by the Danish queen.
The now-66-year-old Hareide signed a contract with Rosenborg (RBK) that only runs through next year, with an option for renewal, but news of it was well-received.
“This is a good choice,” RBK’s now long-retired legendary coach Nils Arne Eggen told newspaper VG. “He is experienced and has been coaching for Rosenborg before. He shares a lot of the philosophy Rosenborg has. I’m glad Åge said ‘yes.'”
Hareide was head coach at Rosenborg in 2003 when he was recruited to lead Norway’s own national football team from 2003-2008. He told reporters Tuesday afternoon that Rosenborg “has a good tradition and a good culture. I’m familiar with the club and the city. It’s good to come to a club where you know that things are in order.”
He said he particularly looked forward to recognize young talent and “train them up. Rosenborg has been very good at at that earlier. I hope we can be good at that in the future, too.”
Rosenborg’s management was clearly glad Hareide agreed to take over after the club’s former head coach left following a disappointing season. “Hiring a coach for Rosenborg is one of the most important things the board has to do, so we’re very glad we managed this today,” said the leader of the club’s board, Ivar Koteng.
State broadcaster NRK’s sports commentator Jan Petter Saltvedt noted that Hareide “is the best coach currently available, and a good match for both RBK and Hareide.”
On Thursday, Hareide received more praise that actually moved him to tears. In a ceremony at the Danish Embassy in Oslo, Hareide was royally proclaimed to be Ridder av Dannebrogordenen, and formally knighted on behalf of Danish Queen Margrethe II by Danish Ambassador Jens Frijs-Madsen. Hareide was lauded for his success in leading the Danish national football squad for four years, during which only three of 42 matches played ended in a loss.