Simon Kjær

Last updated

Simon Kjær
Simon Kjaer 2017 (cropped).jpg
Kjær with Sevilla in 2017
Personal information
Full nameSimon Thorup Kjær [1]
Date of birth (1989-03-26) 26 March 1989 (age 30) [2]
Place of birth Horsens, Denmark
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) [3]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
(on loan from Sevilla)
Number 24
Youth career
FC Midtjylland
Senior career*
2007–2008 FC Midtjylland 19 (0)
2008–2010 Palermo 62 (5)
2010–2013 VfL Wolfsburg 57 (3)
2011–2012Roma (loan) 22 (0)
2013–2015 Lille 66 (1)
2015–2017 Fenerbahçe 54 (3)
2017– Sevilla 46 (2)
2019Atalanta (loan) 5 (0)
2020–Milan (loan) 4 (0)
National team
2006 Denmark U18 1 (0)
2006–2008 Denmark U19 10 (1)
2008 Denmark U20 1 (0)
2008–2011 Denmark U21 2 (0)
2009– Denmark 95 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 22:30, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:00, 31 January 2020 (UTC)

Simon Thorup Kjær (pronounced  [simɔn ˈkʰæˀɐ̯] ; born 26 March 1989) is a Danish professional footballer who plays as a centre back for Italian club Milan on loan from Spanish club Sevilla and captains the Denmark national team.


He was named 2007 Danish under-19 talent of the year and 2009 Danish Talent of the Year. Kjær has played over 90 games for Denmark, including at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Club career

FC Midtjylland

Born in Horsens, Kjær started playing football with small-time club Lund IF near Horsens, before moving to the youth team of Danish Superliga club FC Midtjylland in 2004. [4] He was named the best player of a French youth tournament in April 2006, [5] and Midtjylland subsequently rejected offers from Lille OSC for Kjær and Jesper Juelsgård. [6] He made his senior debut for Midtjylland in the Viasat Cup training matches in June 2006, [7] and was promoted to the first team squad in January 2007. [8] He had a successful trial with Real Madrid in August 2007, but their transfer offer was refused by FC Midtjylland. [9] He signed a five-year contract with Midtjylland instead in September 2007. [1]

He made his Superliga debut on 30 September 2007, in the 2–0 victory against AGF, and played four games in the first half of the Danish Superliga 2007–08 season. By October 2007, Kjær had attracted the likes of Premier League clubs Middlesbrough and Chelsea. [10] In February 2008, Kjær signed a five-year contract with Italian club Palermo, effective from the summer 2008, [11] [12] [13] earning Midtjylland a €4 million transfer fee. [14] He played all 15 games in the second half of the Superliga season, forming a defensive partnership with Magnus Troest.


In July 2008, Kjær joined Italian club Palermo.[ citation needed ]

He made his Palermo debut on 26 October 2008 as a half-time substitute against Fiorentina in Serie A. His performance won praise despite Palermo's 3–1 home defeat. [15]

He scored his first goal for Palermo in his third appearance on 2 November in a 3–0 win over Chievo. [16] He ended the 2008–09 season as Palermo's top scoring defender in Serie A with three goals. [17]

Kjær confirmed his reputation as a first team regular in the 2009–10 season, and formed a strong defensive partnership with fellow centre-back Cesare Bovo. In September 2009, he signed an improved contract with the Sicilian club. [18] He was named 2009 Danish Talent of the Year in November 2009, beating Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner and Ajax's Christian Eriksen after his successful first season in Palermo. [19] In January 2010, he was also named as Danish Footballer of the Year for 2009. [20] [21] The next day, he celebrated with a goal against Cagliari that decided the match for Palermo as the match ended 2–1. He scored twice during the season, and played a total 35 Serie A games.

VfL Wolfsburg

On 30 June 2010, VfL Wolfsburg confirmed they had opened talks with Kjær. [22] Wolfsburg signed the player in the presence of interest from teams across Europe including English sides Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur plus Italian side Juventus. [23] On 8 July 2010, Wolfsburg signed Kjær for an undisclosed fee believed to be in excess of £10million. [24] Following his move to Wolfsburg, Kjær said: "The transfer means I have the chance to play for a top club, I think this is the right step for me. We have a strong team that can challenge at the top of the Bundesliga. First, I need to secure a regular place." The deal made Kjær the most expensive Danish footballer in the world. [25] Making the shift from Serie A football to the Bundesliga meant that Kjær would become one of the best paid Danish footballers with an annual salary of around €3 million. [26] The move from Serie A to the Bundesliga and VfL Wolfsburg was not only economically justifiable for the young Danish defender. Both national coach Morten Olsen [27] and Kjær himself said after the shift that this is both sporty and developmentally was a step in the right direction for him. [28]

Kjær made his unofficial debut for VfL Wolfsburg in a pre-season fixture against FC Augsburg, in which Wolfsburg ran out 1–0 winners. [29]

Kjær made his Bundesliga debut for Wolfsburg in a 2–1 loss against Bayern Munich on 20 August 2010. [30]

After a poor start to the season for Wolfsburg, with varying results and unmet expectations; Kjær scored his first goal for Wolfsburg in a 2–0 win over Stuttgart when he headed the ball in over the line after a corner kick. Several statisticians have noted that the ball took a deflection, however the goal was eventually credited to Edin Džeko. [31] Despite much criticism from the media for his poor performances, Kjær played in the starting lineup in all 17 Bundesliga matches in the autumn 2010 season. After having formed a successful partnership with Italy international Andrea Barzagli in Wolfsburg's central defence, Kjær would then feature alongside German international Arne Friedrich. [32] In his 19th appearance in the league, Kjær scored his first Bundesliga goal for the club. Kjær was match winner in the 0–1 away game against Mainz 05, with a headed goal in the 83rd minute, [33] which Kjær secured the first Wolfsburg victory in eight matches – after seven drawn games in a row. [34]

Following Steve McClaren's sacking (who brought him to the club) due to further poor results in February 2011, Felix Magath returned to Wolfsburg (the manager guided the club to win their first Bundesliga title). Magath made a comment on criticising the 'poor condition' of the players he inherited (including Kjær) from McClaren. [35] During the English coach had Kjær started 20 out of 21 Bundesliga matches, after having been out with an injury in round 20 against Dortmund. [36] In connection with the dismissal declared affection in public, that he was sorry for firing, and that he had been happy to work with Steve McClaren. [37] In his first season, Kjær made 32 appearances and scored two goals.

In his second season at Wolfsburg, Kjær made three appearances for Wolfsburg. Kjær's time at Wolfsburg has been met by frustration, as the club narrowly avoided the drop last season and he has come under fire for some lacklustre displays.

Loan to Roma

In the summer transfer window 2011, Kjær revealed that head coach Magath told him that he'll be allowed to leave this summer and reported that he had fallen out favor with Magath. [38] Italian side Roma revealed the club are on the verge of signing Kjær on a €10 million move from Wolfsburg as a replacement for centre-back Philippe Mexès who left for AC Milan on a free transfer. [39] However, the move to Roma was put back on hold after reports in Italy claimed the defender had been recalled by his club Wolfsburg. [40] Instead on 30 August 2011, Kjær went out on a season-long loan deal to Roma, with the option to purchase at the end of the season. [41]

Kjær made his debut for Roma in a 0–0 draw against Inter Milan on 17 September 2011. On 16 October 2011, Kjær received a red in a 2–1 loss against Lazio. Roma director Walter Sabatini dropped a strong hint that the club may decide against signing Kjær on a permanent basis due to his poor performance at Roma. He has been largely disappointing for Roma after he was to blame after Roma's 4–2 defeat to Cagliari on 1 February 2012. [42] In the end, Roma decided against signing Kjær permanently, stating that he had made too many costly errors.

Return to Wolfsburg

After his loan-spell at Roma ended, Kjær stated he would not return to Wolfsburg, after coach Magath decided the Dane was not going to be part of his first team plans for the club's 2012–13 season. [43] However, Magath soon after announced he was now willing to bury the hatchet with Kjær and would be keen to bring him into his first team at Wolfsburg. [44]


On 5 July 2013, it was announced that Kjær had signed a four-year deal with Ligue 1 side, Lille. [45] Kjær impressed during his first season in the French Ligue 1 as leader of the best defense in the major European national leagues in the 2013–14 season conceding only 26 goals in 38 matches including an impressive number of 21 clean sheets. As a result of the solid performances Kjær frequently appeared on various medias team of the week during the entire season, eventually earning a spot on "the Ligue 1 Team of the Season" alongside teammate and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. [46] He scored his first ever Ligue 1 goal against Lorient with a deflected free kick. [47]


On 16 June 2015, Kjær joined Turkish side Fenerbahçe, [48] signed four-year deal for €7.65 million.[ citation needed ]


On 2 August 2017, Kjær joined Spanish side Sevilla signing a four-year deal. [49]

On 1 September 2019, Kjær was loaned to Atalanta. [50] However, just like Martin Škrtel (his former teammate at Fenerbahçe who signed and terminated his contract with Atalanta within August 2019), he failed to convince the team's head coach Gian Piero Gasperini and, as a result, the club chose to terminate the loan deal six months ahead of expiration. [51] [52]

Loan to Milan

On 13 January 2020, Kjær signed with Milan on loan for the rest of the 2019–20 season, with the option to make the transfer permanent for an undisclosed sum. [53] He had been linked with the club in the late 2000s and early 2010s during his time with Palermo and even praised in the media by then-current Milan's head coach Carlo Ancelotti yet the move eventually broke down as two clubs failed to agree on his transfer fee. [54] [55]

International career

Kjaer attempt to block Wesley Sneijder shot in the UEFA Euro 2012 campaign. NED-DEN Euro 2012 (07).jpg
Kjær attempt to block Wesley Sneijder shot in the UEFA Euro 2012 campaign.

Kjær made his debut for the Denmark national under-19 football team in September 2006, at the age of 17. [56] He played a total 10 games and scored one goal for the under-19s until October 2007, and was named 2007 Danish under-19 talent of the year as the under-19s coach found Kjær had shown himself a talented defender despite his young age. [57] Following his breakthrough with Midtjylland, Kjær was rested from the under-19s in March 2008 to avoid wearing him out. [58]

He was called up for the Denmark national under-21 football team in May 2008 as a replacement for Michael Jakobsen, [59] making his debut in a 0–4 defeat against the Germany under-21s. [60] He was out of the under-21 team during his first time at Palermo, but was recalled in October 2008, [61] spending the game as an unused substitute to Magnus Troest and Mathias Jørgensen. [62] Kjær was called up to the senior Danish national team in February 2009, [63] as national team coach Morten Olsen was impressed by his form for Palermo, [64] and saw him and Per Krøldrup as main competitors to replace the retired defender Martin Laursen. [65] He was an unused substitute for the friendly match against Greece, and returned to the under-21s for a single game in March 2009, [66] playing well enough that under-21 coach Keld Bordinggaard recommended him for a recall to Olsen's squad. [67]

He was once again a part of the senior squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification game against Sweden on 6 June 2009. Per Krøldrup was unavailable due to injury, and Kjær played the full game despite an injury of his own, [68] as Denmark won 1–0. Kjær established himself in the Danish starting line-up, played the following three qualification games, and helped Denmark qualify for the 2010 World Cup. For the September 2009 qualification game against Portugal, Kjær told reporters that Cristiano Ronaldo should be stopped by a series of small fouls and one hard tackle. [69] This prompted a complaint to FIFA by the Portuguese Football Federation requesting Kjær be suspended for unsportsman-like conduct, but the case was dropped following the mediation of the Danish Football Association. [70]

On 28 May 2010, Denmark coach Morten Olsen announced that the player would be part of the final squad of 23 participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. [71] He was in the starting eleven in Denmark's first two games, against the Netherlands and Cameroon, where he received a yellow card in both games and therefore missed the third and crucial group game against Japan. However, in the match against Cameroon he was highly praised for his excellent long-range passing which helped to set up Nicklas Bendtner's first goal. [72]

On 7 September 2010, following Denmark's win over Iceland, Stig Tøfting was not impressed by Kjær and criticized him for making too many mistakes. This left Kjær offended and he hit back on Tøfting saying "These statements hit me personally! It is the first time that I have come under pressure and I try to take these words as a motivation. I am not happy about his (Tøfting's) opinion. He just says that to stay in the public attention. He should be serious!" [73]

Kjær was a part of the Danish UEFA Euro 2012-team, and was among the starting 11 in each of the three group games, against the Netherlands, Portugal and Germany. He served as Denmark's captain at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. [74]

Career statistics


As of match played 17 February 2020 [75] [76]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeagueCup Europe Total
FC Midtjylland 2007–08 Danish Superliga 19020210
Palermo 2008–09 Serie A 27300273
2009–10 35230382
VfL Wolfsburg 2010–11 Bundesliga 32120341
2011–12 301040
2012–13 22230252
Roma (loan) 2011–12 Serie A22020240
Lille 2013–14 Ligue 1 34021361
2014–15 3112191423
Fenerbahçe 2015–16 Süper Lig 28260110452
2016–17 27150112433
Sevilla 2017–18 La Liga 2021061273
2018–19 260308 [lower-alpha 1] 0370
Atalanta (loan) 2019–20 Serie A 50001060
Milan (loan) 2019–20 403070
Career total3351435246441620
  1. Five appearances in the UEFA Europa League and one appearance in Supercopa de España


As of match played 18 November 2019 [77]

International goals

Scores and results list Denmark's goal tally first. [78]
1.22 March 2013 Andrův stadion, Olomouc, Czech RepublicFlag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 2–03–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
2.14 November 2014 Partizan Stadium, Belgrade, SerbiaFlag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 2–13–1 UEFA Euro 2016 qualification
3.3 June 2016 Toyota Stadium, Toyota, JapanFlag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1–02–2 (3–4 p ) 2016 Kirin Cup



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