Eiður Guðjohnsen: Ice Man

Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen

Player Profile: Eiður Guðjohnsen

Date of Birth: 15/9/1978 

Height: 6 ft 1 in

Position: Striker

National Team: Iceland

International Caps: 88

International Goals: 26 

Club Career

Iceland’s joint top goal scorer of all time, Eiður Guðjohnsen enjoyed a 22-year professional playing career, which included spells at some of Europe’s biggest teams including Barcelona, Monaco and Chelsea.

The son of former Iceland international Arnor Guðjohnsen it was no surprise to see Eiður follow in his father’s footsteps. Born in Reykjavík in 1978 he was blessed with talent from an early age and was just 16 when he made his senior debut for local side Valur. In his only season at the club he scored seven goals in 17 appearances before being snapped up by PSV in Holland.

Playing alongside the great Ronaldo, Eiður made 13 league appearances in his debut season in Holland. But a serious ankle injury ruled him out of the entire 1996/97 campaign. As a result, he soon fell down the pecking order at PSV and opted for a loan move back to Iceland with KR Reykjavík in an attempt to regain match sharpness. Back in his home country, he managed six league appearances without scoring. 

Later that year he was on the move again, this time to England signing for Championship outfit Bolton Wanderers. After five goals in 14 league appearances Eiður had established himself as a first-team regular at the Reebok Stadium. The following season he played a pivotal role scoring 21 goals in all competitions as Bolton reached the play-offs and the semi-finals of both the League Cup and FA Cup.

Guðjohnsen’s form attracted the attention of Chelsea, and on 19th June 2000, the striker completed a move worth £4.5million to Stamford Bridge. During his first season in the Premier League, he was made to bide his time with the majority of his 37 appearances coming from the bench. Although he still managed to score 13 goals in all competitions.

During the 2001/02 season, Guðjohnsen formed a strong partnership with Dutchman Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Together the pair bagged 52 goals in all competitions. But it wasn’t until Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Chelsea that things really clicked. With Guðjohnsen deployed in a deeper role, Chelsea secured back to back league titles in 2005 and 2006. He only managed 14 goals in 63 appearances across the two seasons but his vision, passing and link-up play were key to the Blues’ success. Chelsea also won the League Cup in 2004/05.

After six successful years at Stamford Bridge Guðjohnsen was snapped up by Spanish giants Barcelona in 2006. He signed a four-year contract at the Nou Camp and had big boots to fill replacing Henrik Larsson. Guðjohnsen scored 12 goals in all competitions in his first season in Spain including a winner against Celta de Vigo on his league debut.

During the 2008/09 season, Guðjohnsen’s third in Spain, he helped the Catalans win a famous treble which included La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles. He made 34 appearances in all competitions but struggled for goals, finding the net just four times. As a result, his time at the Nou Camp was up at the end of the season, and on 31st August 2009, he signed a two year deal at Monaco.

His time in France was brief. After just nine league games and zero goals, Guðjohnsen returned to the Premier League, joining Tottenham on loan in January for the remainder of the season. He made 11 Premier League appearances before joining Stoke later that summer. 

Guðjohnsen, though, found game time hard to come by at the Britannia. He made just five appearances, all from the bench and eventually joined Fulham on loan on the final day of the January transfer window. That summer he was released by Stoke and would be on the move again, this time to Greece where he signed a two year deal with AEK Athens. On his arrival, Guðjohnsen was met by over 2,000 AEK fans. 

Big things were expected of the Icelandic international but after just ten league games he fractured his fibula and tibia against rivals Olympiakos. Subsequently, he was ruled out for the rest of the season. 

Guðjohnsen went almost a year without playing football before signing a contract for Cercle Brugge in October 2012. Back to full fitness, Guðjohnsen was scoring goals for fun. He netted seven goals in 14 appearances in all competitions. His excellent form earned him a move to Club Brugge where he managed almost 50 appearances but failed to reproduce his prolific goal scoring form bagging just seven goals.

After leaving Brugge at the end of his contract, Guðjohnsen returned to former club Bolton Wanderers who were back in the Championship. Between December and May, he made 21 league appearances scoring five goals including an equaliser against Blackpool in the same week he celebrated the birth of his fourth child.

Aged 37 Guðjohnsen signed a short term lucrative deal with Chinese Super League side Shijiazhuang Ever Bright. Injuries, though, like they had for large parts of his career, limited him to just 14 appearances. 

In February 2016 he joined Molde in Norway, but after 13 appearances and one league goal, the club terminated his contract. Later that year, in September, Guðjohnsen announced his retirement from professional football.

International Career 

From an early age it was clear to see that Eiður Guðjohnsen had a big career ahead of him. He represented Iceland at Under 17 level aged just 14 before making his senior debut three years later against Estonia alongside his Dad Arnor who was 34. The pair didn’t play together, though, Eidur came on as a substitute for his Dad halfway through the second half. Later both expressed their annoyance at not being on the field at the same time as each other.

On his 48th cap, Guðjohnsen scored his 17th international goal drawing him level with Rikharour Jonsson. A month later he scored twice against Latvia to break the record. To this day he remains Iceland’s top goalscorer with 26 goals.

Iceland missed out on World Cup qualification in 2014, and as a result, Guðjohnsen announced he was thinking about retirement. But after 18 months away from the international scene he made a goal-scoring return against Kazakhstan in a Euro 2016 qualifier. Iceland made it to their first major tournament that summer and pulled off a famous win over England before losing to hosts France in the quarter-finals. That proved to be Guðjohnsen’s final game in international football.

Where is Eiður Guðjohnsen now?

As of January 2019, Guðjohnsen was hired as assistant manager for Iceland Under 21s. 

Did you know?

– He has three sons, all of which play football. Sveinn Aron, the eldest, plays for Serie B side Spezia Calcio. 18-year-old Andri Lucas is in the Real Madrid youth side and so too is youngest Daniel Tristan who’s 12.