Mikael Forssell

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Mikael Forssell
Forssell signs autographs Weiden.jpg
During Birmingham City's pre-season tour, 2004
Personal information
Full nameMikael Kaj Forssell [1]
Date of birth (1981-03-15) 15 March 1981 (age 38) [1]
Place of birth Steinfurt, West Germany
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1994–1997 HJK
Senior career*
1997–1998 HJK 17 (1)
1998–2005 Chelsea 33 (5)
2000Crystal Palace (loan) 13 (3)
2000–2001Crystal Palace (loan) 39 (13)
2003Borussia Mönchengladbach (loan) 12 (7)
2003–2004Birmingham City (loan) 32 (17)
2004–2005Birmingham City (loan) 4 (0)
2005–2008 Birmingham City 65 (13)
2008–2011 Hannover 96 44 (7)
2011–2012 Leeds United 15 (0)
2012–2014 HJK 44 (21)
2014–2015 VfL Bochum 16 (3)
2016 HJK 19 (3)
2017 HIFK 25 (8)
National team
1999–2014 Finland 87 (29)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Mikael Kaj Forssell (born 15 March 1981) is a Finnish former football striker. [2]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Forward (association football) Association Football position played near the opponents goal

Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, and are therefore most responsible for scoring goals.


Forssell began his professional career in 1997 for HJK, having progressed through the team's youth teams, but he only remained at the club for a single season, making 17 league appearances, before he moved to England to join Chelsea in 1998. He never broke into the Chelsea team (making 33 league appearances in seven years), and spent two loan spells at Crystal Palace, one at Borussia Mönchengladbach, and two at Birmingham City. He switched permanently to the latter club in 2005, but injury problems restricted him to 65 league appearances in three seasons. He joined German side Hannover 96 in July 2008 on a free transfer, but once again struggled with form and injury problems, and he left the club in 2011, having made 44 league appearances. This was followed by an unsuccessful season back in England, this time with Leeds United; 15 league games failed to yield a single goal. Forssell returned to current club HJK in October 2012.

Chelsea F.C. Association football club

Chelsea Football Club is an English professional football club. Founded in 1905, they compete in the Premier League, the top division of English football. Chelsea are among England's most successful clubs, having won over thirty competitive honours, including 6 top-flight titles, 8 FA Cups, 5 League Cups, 2 UEFA Europa Leagues, 2 UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, 1 UEFA Champions League, and 1 UEFA Super Cup. Their home ground is Stamford Bridge in Fulham, London.

Crystal Palace F.C. Association football club

Crystal Palace Football Club is an English professional football club based in Selhurst, South London, that competes in the Premier League, the highest level of English football. They were founded at the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building in 1905 and played their home games at the FA Cup Final stadium which was situated inside the historic Palace grounds. The club were forced to leave the Palace in 1915 due to the outbreak of the First World War, and played at Herne Hill Velodrome and the Nest until 1924, when they moved to their current home at Selhurst Park.

Borussia Mönchengladbach association football club in Mönchengladbach, Germany

Borussia VfL 1900 Mönchengladbach e.V., commonly known as Borussia Mönchengladbach, Mönchengladbach or Gladbach, is a professional football club based in Mönchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, that plays in the Bundesliga, the top flight of German football. The club has won five League titles, three DFB-Pokals, and two UEFA Europa League titles.

Forssell made his full international debut for Finland in 1999, and has been a regular player for his country in almost every year since; the one exception being 2012, where he didn't make a single appearance. He has 87 caps for his country, and has scored 29 goals; making him the sixth most capped Finnish player, and his country's second highest goalscorer.

Club career

Born in Steinfurt, [3] Germany, and considered one of the most talented Finnish footballers of all time, Forssell made his Veikkausliiga debut for HJK at the age of just 16. [2]

Steinfurt Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Steinfurt is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Steinfurt.

Veikkausliiga association football league

Veikkausliiga is the premier division of Finnish football, comprising the top 12 clubs of the country. Its main sponsor is the Finnish national betting agency Veikkaus, hence the league's name. Veikkausliiga was founded in 1990; before that the top division was called Mestaruussarja since 1930 which was an amateur or semi-professional league. Between 1908 and 1930 the championship was decided in a cup competition.


His goal-scoring form for Finland's youth teams made him a target for a host of Europe's top clubs, and in 1998, the 17-year-old striker was snapped up by Chelsea [4] who at the time were managed by Gianluca Vialli. He made his debut as a substitute in a league game against Arsenal in January 1999 [5] and then three days later, Forssell made his first start for the club when he scored two goals against Oxford United in the FA Cup. [6] His first league goal came three weeks later, when he scored against Nottingham Forest. [7] However, when Chelsea signed Chris Sutton for £10 million, Forssell was loaned out twice to Crystal Palace [8] of the then First Division, scoring 16 league goals in just over 50 appearances. [9]

Gianluca Vialli Italian footballer and manager

Gianluca Vialli is an Italian football manager and former footballer who played as a striker. Since retiring, he has gone into management and punditry and is a commentator for Sky Sport Italia.

Arsenal F.C. Association football club based in Islington, London, England

Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Islington, London, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The Club has won 13 League titles, a record 13 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 15 FA Community Shields, 1 League Centenary Trophy, 1 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and 1 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

Oxford United F.C. Association football club

Oxford United Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. The team plays in League One, the third tier of English football. The chairman is Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth, the manager is Karl Robinson and the team captain is John Mousinho.

Forssell found it hard to find a place in the Chelsea first team with Gianfranco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Tore Andre Flo and Eidur Gudjohnson, who were all ahead of him in the pecking order. [7] After initially impressing new manager Claudio Ranieri scoring in four consecutive games, [10] he was sent out on loan again and had spells at Borussia Mönchengladbach [11] of the German Bundesliga and twice to Birmingham City of the Premier League. Forssell scored seven Bundesliga goals for Mönchengladbach in the spring of 2003 and then 17 Premier League goals for Birmingham in the 2003–04 season (more league goals than any other Chelsea player), during which he was the division's fifth highest goalscorer. He was named Premier League Player of the Month for March 2004, [12] a month in which he scored twice in a 4–1 win against Leeds United. [13]

Gianfranco Zola Italian footballer and manager

Gianfranco Zola is an Italian football manager and former footballer who played predominantly as a forward. He was most recently the assistant manager of Chelsea.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Dutch association football player and manager

Jerrel "Jimmy" Floyd Hasselbaink is a Dutch former professional footballer and current manager.

Claudio Ranieri Italian footballer and manager

Claudio RanieriGrande Ufficiale OMRI is an Italian football coach and former player who was most recently head coach of Serie A club Roma.

He returned to Birmingham on loan for the 2004–05 season, [14] but suffered the second serious knee injury of his career. [15] He returned to Chelsea to recuperate, and made occasional appearances for Chelsea that season, [16] playing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League [17] and in the last home match, against Charlton Athletic, as Chelsea celebrated winning their first top-flight title for 50 years. [18]

The 2004–05 FA Premier League began on 14 August 2004 and ended on 15 May 2005. Arsenal were the defending champions after going unbeaten the previous season. Chelsea won the title with a then record 95 points, which was surpassed by Manchester City in the 2017–18 season, securing the title with a 2–0 win at the Reebok Stadium against Bolton Wanderers. Chelsea also broke a number of other records during their campaign, most notably breaking the record of most games won in a single Premier League campaign, securing 29 wins in the league in home and away matches.

Charlton Athletic F.C. Association football club

Charlton Athletic Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Charlton, south-east London. They currently compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. The club was founded on 9 June 1905 when a number of youth clubs in south-east London, including East Street Mission and Blundell Mission, combined to form Charlton Athletic. Their home ground is the Valley, where the club have played since 1919, apart from one year in Catford, during 1923–24, and seven years at Crystal Palace and West Ham United between 1985 and 1992, due to the Valley being redeveloped.

Birmingham City

In the summer of 2005, Forssell joined Birmingham on a three-year deal for a fee of £3 million, after Chelsea decided that he did not figure in their long term plans. He struggled in the 2005–06 season, not having found his best form after his injury, and could not save Birmingham from relegation. Forssell suffered another cruel injury blow to his other knee during training in October 2006. This left him on the sidelines until he returned to training in February 2007 after undergoing operations on both knees. He remained at Birmingham to have another go at resurrecting his career.

His 2007–08 pre-season performances were good, he scored five goals in five games. His manager, Steve Bruce, was enthusiastic about his return to form. He continued his good form into the start of the season, scoring the opening goal of the match against Chelsea and consolidating his good form with two assists in the next three matches. He scored his first hat-trick at club level on 1 March 2008, in the 4–1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, a so-called "perfect hat-trick" – one goal scored with the left foot, one with the right, and one with the head. [19] In his final season at Birmingham, he finished the season as their top scorer with nine goals as the club were relegated from the Premier League. [20]

Hannover 96

In May 2008, following the club's relegation from Premier League, Forssell signed a pre-contract agreement to join Hannover 96 on a free transfer when his Birmingham contract expired at the end of June. His contract with Hannover ran out at the end of the 2010–11 season. [21] [22]

On his pre-season debut for Hannover, he scored 10 goals including an eight-minute hat-trick in one friendly game against amateurs FC Boffzen. The game ended up as a 23–0 win. [23]

Leeds United

After leaving Hannover when his contract expired at the end of the 2010–11 season, Forssell had trials with clubs including West Ham United [24] and Leeds United [25] of the English Football League Championship (second tier). On 8 September he returned from international duty with Finland to sign a contract with Leeds until the end of the 2011–12 season. [26] Forssell was handed the number 18 shirt and took his place on the bench two days later against his former club Crystal Palace. He came on as a second-half substitute to make his Leeds debut and assisted Ross McCormack for their winning goal in a 3–2 victory. [27] He came on as a substitute against fierce rivals Manchester United in a 3–0 League Cup defeat. [28]

After mainly being used as a substitute and failing to score a single goal for Leeds, Forssell was told by Neil Warnock that his one-year contract wouldn't be renewed at the end of the 2011–12 season and that he would be released from the club at the expiry of his contract. [29]

Return to HJK

On 29 October 2012, it was announced that Forssell would be returning to Finland after spending 14 years abroad, signing a two-year contract with his former club HJK. [30] On 22 April 2013, Forssell opened the scoring by a header, in a 2–0 away win over rivals Honka. He finished the season with 14 league goals, the club's top goalscorer as HJK won their fifth consecutive championship.

After a stint with German side VfL Bochum, Forssell rejoined HJK on 3 March 2016. [31]

HIFK and retirement

On 10 April 2017, Forssell signed a contract for one year with HIFK. [32] Forssell announced his retirement in May 2018. [33]

International career

Forssell has been a regular for the Finnish national team for most of the 2000s. He played his first match for Finland on 9 June 1999 against Moldova, and scored his first goal on 28 February 2001 against Luxembourg. He has often partnered Jari Litmanen. [34] Forssell also played for Finland in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Forssell scored twice against Germany in a 2002 World Cup 2002 qualifier; the match ended 2–2. [35]

Forssell has scored two hat-tricks for Finland. On 7 September 2005, in Tampere, he scored three goals against FYR Macedonia in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. On 17 November 2010, Forssell scored three of Finland's eight goals against San Marino in the Euro 2012 qualifying. [36]

Personal life

Forssell's older sister, Christina Forssell  [ fi ], was also a footballer who played for HJK and Finland. On 23 August 2013, Forssell married Metti Lukkarila, [37] the couple have Lilia, born in May 2014, [38] and Lucas Mikael, born in August 2016. [39]


HJK Helsinki


Career statistics

Club career

As of 31 December 2016 [41] [42] [43]

Club performanceLeagueCupLeague CupContinentalTotal
FinlandLeague Finnish Cup League Cup Europe Total
1997 HJK Veikkausliiga 10????0010
1998 161????40201
EnglandLeague FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1998–99 Chelsea Premier League 101320000133
1999–00 0000101020
1999–00 Crystal Palace (loan) First Division 1330000133
2000–01 391320824915
2001–02 Chelsea Premier League 224634230359
2002–03 0000000000
GermanyLeague DFB-Pokal Ligapokal Europe Total
2002–03 Mönchengladbach (loan) Bundesliga 16700167
EnglandLeague FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2003–04 Chelsea Premier League 0000001010
2003–04 Birmingham City (loan)321742103719
2004–05 40000040
2004–05 Chelsea 1000001020
2005–06 Birmingham City 2735332358
2006–07 Championship 810020101
2007–08 Premier League 3091010329
GermanyLeague DFB-Pokal Other Europe Total
2008–09 Hannover 96 Bundesliga 30710317
2009–10 201030
2010–11 12010130
2009–10 Hannover 96 II Regionalliga Nord 1010
EnglandLeague FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2011–12 Leeds United Championship 1501010170
FinlandLeague Finnish Cup League Cup Europe Total
2013 HJK Veikkausliiga 27142053203617
2014 1771054102411
GermanyLeague DFB-Pokal Other Europe Total
2014–15 VfL Bochum 2. Bundesliga 16310173
FinlandLeague Finnish Cup League Cup Europe Total
2016 HJK Veikkausliiga 193310010234
Career total3589332113113140435117

International goals

Finland's score given first. As of 26 March 2013. [2]


As of 9 March 2016 [9]
Finland national team

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