Top 10 Best Norwegian Football Players (2023)

Erling Haaland top Norwegian footballer players
(Photo by JAVAD PARSA/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite the country’s love for numerous sporting activities, football is still the most popular sport in Norway.

Along with their Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Denmark, Norway serves as a great springboard for young players looking to move to top European clubs.

Norway has only qualified for the FIFA World Cup twice (1994 and 1998) — exiting both at the group stage.

Some of the famous Norwegian football players include Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, John Arne Riise, John Carew, and Tore Andre Flo.

In this article, we bring you the top 10 best Norwegian football players in 2023.

1. Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland top Norwegian footballer players
(Photo by JAVAD PARSA/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

Unsurprisingly, leading the way on this list is Manchester City striker Erling Haaland.

Arguably, he is currently the best striker in the world. The Norwegian is renowned for his excellent speed, raw strength, and lethal finishing.

He is already one of the best strikers in the world, and might become a Norwegian football legend when he retires.

Haaland had earlier starred for the likes of Molde, RB Salzburg, and Borrusia Dortmund.

Erling represented Norway at various youth levels. In the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, he won the tournament’s Golden Boot by scoring a record 9 goals in a single match!!!

Haaland made his senior international debut in September 2019 and has scored 21 goals in 23 games to date.

2. Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard top Norwegian soccer players
(Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Martin Odegaard is currently the captain of Norway and Arsenal.

He began his senior career very early, making his professional debut at the age of 15 in 2014.

As a result, he set the record for the youngest appearance maker — and later goalscorer — in the Norwegian top flight.

In 2015, Odegaard signed for Real Madrid in a transfer worth an initial €4 million and then became the youngest player in Madrid’s history.

He failed to establish himself in the Real first team and went on loan several times before permanently joining Arsenal in 2021 in a transfer worth an initial £29 million (€35 million).

He was made Gunners captain in 2022.

Odegaard made his senior international debut for Norway in 2014 at the age of 15 — setting the record as Norway’s youngest-ever player.

Furthermore, he is the youngest player to play in a UEFA European Championship qualifying match.

He assumed the full captaincy of Norway in March 2021. 

Odegaard has the potential to become one of the best midfielders in the world with his talent and skillset.

3. Mohamed Elyounoussi

Mohamed Elyounoussi top football players in Norway
(Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

After starring for Swiss giants Basel, Mohammed Elyounoussi joined Southampton in 2018.

He went on loan to Celtic between 2019 and 2021, winning the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Cup, and the Scottish League Cup.

Elyounoussi made his debut for Norway in 2014 and is one of the country’s most experienced players.

4. Alexander Sorloth

Alexander Sorloth best Norwegian football players
(Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Alexander Sorloth plays as a striker for La Liga club Real Sociedad, on loan from Bundesliga club RB Leipzig.

Sorloth is the son of former Rosenborg player and Norwegian international Goran Sorloth.

In May 2021, he made an Instagram post that surpassed 3.5 million comments, making it the most commented post ever on Instagram by an athlete.

Sorloth has played 45 matches for Norway, scoring 15 goals.

The 27-year-old has been crucial to Real Sociedad this season, with 10 goals in all competitions.

5. Joshua King

Joshua King best footballers in Norway
(Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Joshua King was signed by Manchester United from Vålerenga in 2008.

After loan spells with Preston North End, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hull City, and Blackburn Rovers, he signed permanently with Blackburn in January 2013 before joining Bournemouth in May 2015.

In February 2021, he returned to the top flight with a move to Everton on transfer deadline day.

He later joined Watford and currently plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey.

After representing Norway at various youth levels, King made his senior international debut against Iceland in 2012 and scored his first international goal against Cyprus later that year.

Joshua King has 20 goals in 62 appearances for Norway.

6. Sander Berge

Sander Berge best Norwegian football players

Sander Berge is a midfielder who currently plays for Sheffield United in the Championship.

In 2020, he signed for then Premier League club Sheffield United, becoming the club’s record signing. He signed a 4-and-a-half-year contract.

Berge made his international debut for Norway in 2017 and has racked up 32 appearances so far.

7. Marcus Pedersen

Marcus Pedersen is a right-back that currently plays for Dutch side Feyenoord.

The 22-year-old Norwegian international has become one of the Dutch side’s standout performers since joining in 2021, helping his side to a third-place finish in the Eredivisie last campaign.

Moreso, he helped Feyenoord reach the first-ever final of the UEFA Conference League in 2022.

Pedersen is very good with his feet and can dribble past players. He also excels in delivering pinpoint crosses.

He made his debut for the Norway national football in 2021 and has made 16 appearances so far.

8. Kristofer Ajer

Kristoffer Ajer best soccer players in Norway
(Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Kristofer Ajer plays for Premier League club, Brentford. He has previously played for Start (one of the best football clubs in Norway) and Celtic, where he also had a loan spell with Kilmarnock.

At Celtic, Ajer won 3 Scottish Premierships, 3 Scottish Cups, and 3 Scottish League Cups.

He started his career as a midfielder when he was at Start, but when he was at Celtic, he switched to being a defender — presumably due to his height.

In July 2021, Ajer completed a move to Brentford on a 5-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

He made his senior debut for Norway in 2018 and has made 27 appearances so far.

9. Hugo Vetlesen

Midfielder, Hugo Vetlesen, joined Norwegian giants Bodø/Glimt in 2020 and has been one of the club’s best players since. He helped them win back-to-back league titles in 2020 and 2021.

The club has also gained global recognition in the last few seasons due to its impressive performances in European competitions.

In April 2022, Vetlesen headed in the game-winning goal in a shock 2-1 victory over Italian side Roma in the quarter-finals 1st leg of the UEFA Conference League.

Vetlesen won the Eliteserien (Norwegian top flight) Player of the Year in 2022.

10. Rune Jarstein

Norwegian national team goalkeeper, Rune Jarstein, plays for Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin — where he has been since 2014.

The 38-year-old made his international debut in 2007 and has established himself as Norway’s Number 1 since 2013. He has 72 caps so far for the Norwegian national soccer team.

Notable Mentions:

  • Marius Hoibraaten
  • Andreas Schjelderup
  • Ulrik Saltness
  • Fredik Aursnes
  • Ola Slobakken
  • Amahl Pellegrino
  • Leo Ostigaard
  • Kristian Thorstvedt
  • Jörgen Strand Larsen.
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