TEN OF THE BEST
Gers hero Peter Lovenkrands shares his Ten of the Best with your club website
THIS season we’ll be re-publishing a much loved programme feature where various former players and staff talk about some of their favourite experiences and tales from football in 10 of the Best.
Today it is Peter Lovenkrands’ turn to reflect on his remarkable career, including his most spectacular goal for Rangers, the toughest defender he faced and his favourite way to relax now that his playing days are over.
WE CAUGHT UP WITH PETER FOR HIM TO ANSWER TEN OF THE BEST – SCROLL DOWN TO READ BELOW.
Best Finish For The Club
I am proud of every goal I scored for Rangers but my best finish for the club was probably my overhead kick against Aberdeen at Pittodrie in August 2005.
I think it was Steven Thompson who went down the left wing and he did brilliantly to dig out a cross before it went out for a goal kick. The cross was slightly behind me so I just decided to jump as high as I could with my back to goal and get as good a connection with the ball as I could.
There is always a chance you can look very silly if you miss the ball entirely in these situations but I caught it perfectly with my left boot.
The ball bounced off the ground before going into the top corner of the net beyond the Aberdeen keeper. It was a great feeling to score that goal and it brought the score back to 2-2 that day after we had been two goals down.
Aberdeen, however, scored again at the end to get the three points so it was disappointing we couldn’t get a win on that occasion, especially after we had worked so hard to get back on level terms.
Best Defender I Faced
The best defender I came up against in my career was Barcelona’s Carles Puyol.
During my time at Schalke we were drawn against Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. We lost 2-0 on aggregate – 1-0 in both legs – but in the first game in Germany I went on as a late substitute and briefly went head-to-head with Puyol.
What he achieved in his career for Spain and Barcelona was incredible and he is rightly regarded as one of the best defenders there has ever been. He was composed on the ball and could pass it well but on top of that he gave 100 per cent and always wanted to win.
He was a great tackler and was excellent in the air so he had everything a manager would want from their captain. Puyol was a true leader on the pitch.
Best Moments In Football
In terms of my best moments in football that is a tough question to answer.
At Rangers the obvious highlight was when I scored the header in the last minute of the 2002 Scottish Cup final against Celtic. That feeling when I was celebrating with the fans will never leave me and it was the same every time I scored for the club in Europe, especially in the Champions League, because I loved those occasions.
On a personal level, and I can’t say it was my best moment but it was certainly the most emotional, was when I scored for Newcastle United against West Bromwich Albion at St James’ Park following the death of my father.
I desperately wanted to play that day for my dad and to score the equaliser in a 2-2 draw was special. I didn’t want to let him down and I got the goal for him.
Best Experience In Youth Football
I have a lot of great memories from my years growing up in Denmark and like most kids all I wanted to do was play football. I was quite lucky because my older brother Tommy – who played for a few clubs including St Johnstone – was football-daft as well so I always had someone to play with.
When I was 12 I enjoyed by best experience in youth football. The team I played for were sitting at the top of the league but we were playing against the team in second although they were only a point behind us.
We went 1-0 up but they equalised and then I scored to make it 2-1. With five minutes to go we had our keeper sent off and a penalty was given to them. I decided to go in goal and I saved the penalty which meant we won the league. This was a long time ago but you don’t forget moments like that when you are young, it was a brilliant feeling.
Best Advice I've Received
My dad was a very inspirational person for me and someone I always looked up to. I started playing football from the age of 5 and right up until he passed away he would keep telling me to enjoy my football and to always do my best; that is the best advice I have received.
All the coaches you work with obviously help to make you a better player but my dad’s words were always special to me and every day in training I would remember them. It’s sometimes easy to forget how lucky you are to be a footballer so you have to appreciate it every day and try to be the best you can be.
To any young player I would tell them to give everything and make the most of their talent because it is a short career but also the best job you can have.
Best Game For My Country
My dream when I was young was to play for Denmark and although I went on to make 22 international appearances my best game for my country was my debut simply because of what it meant to me.
It was actually during my time at Rangers that I was called up by Morten Olsen for a friendly match against Saudi Arabia in February 2002 and we won 1-0.
To pull on a Denmark jersey on that occasion was an unbelievable moment and I was so proud, as was my entire family. At the end of 2006 I also scored my one and only goal for Denmark in a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic in November 2006 so that was another special moment in my career.
Best Way To Relax
When I retired from football I felt it was the right time although I knew it was always going to be strange not having to get up in the morning and get ready for training and for a game at the weekend. I’ve been doing some media work to keep myself busy and I’ve enjoyed that.
I might also get into coaching further down the line so we’ll see where that goes. Right now, however, my best way to relax is simply to spend time with my wife and two daughters.
We live in Thorntonhall so it’s handy to get out and about and we all enjoy having a day out as there is so much to see and do around Glasgow. I have to say though that I love just being lazy and staying in the house, cuddling up on the sofa and watching a movie, you cannae beat it!
Best Thing About Being A Footballer
One of the best things about being a footballer is that it has allowed me to live in Scotland, England and Germany and I’ve had the opportunity to play in great places with my clubs and with Denmark.
I love Scotland and I know I get a bit of stick because of my Danish/Scottish accent which I seem to be stuck with now. I remember one occasion when I was with Newcastle and we were playing Arsenal away. we were warming up and Nicklas Bendtner came running down and we started talking to each other in Danish.
When he ran away again, Nile Ranger, the Newcastle striker, turned to me and said “Do you talk Danish?” and I said “WHAT? What are you talking about?” Then he said “But aren’t you erm, erm…’ And I said “Scottish?” He said “yeah, that’s it”. I couldn’t believe it.
All the time I had been in England he had just presumed that I was Scottish and never realised I was from Denmark!
Best Stadium I Played In
The best stadium I played in (if I am not allowed to pick Ibrox!) is Schalke’s Veltins- Arena in Gelsenkirchen.
It was opened in 2001 and when it is full it holds roughly 60,000 fans. There is a retractable roof which spans the entire stadium and there is also a slide-out pitch which can be moved in and out in four hours.
This allows it to be changed into a concert venue without any damage to the playing surface. I was blown away when I walked into the stadium for the first time and, like Ibrox, it’s a great place to play football.
Best Supporters In The World
I have to say that although I love having a bit more free time to spend with my family there is nothing nice about being called a former footballer, it is just a sign you are getting older!
But having played for Rangers and having so many fond memories from my time at the club there is nothing better than returning to Ibrox and meeting the fans, they are amongst the best supporters in the world.
Playing, and scoring, in Fernando’s Tribute Match recently highlighted to me once again what a special club Rangers is and although that was a very sad and emotional afternoon, I thought it was amazing that so many people travelled to the stadium to show their support for Fernando and his family.
It just shows that once you have been part of Glasgow Rangers you will always be part of the Rangers Family. We Are The People!
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