Per Christian Skjelbred this week anounced his decision to retire from the Norwegian national team. The 29-year-old from Trondheim made his international debut against Malta on the 28th March 2007 and went on to accumulate 43 caps, while his only goal for his country came at Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, in June 2012 — when he scored the first goal in Norway’s 2-0 win over Macedonia.
In his early years at Rosenborg Skjelbred impressed with his technical ability and his sheer industrious work-rate — often attracting the interest from the biggest clubs throughout Europe. Then, in 2005, in a Champions League encounter against Olympiacos, his promising career progression was cruelly halted — Skjelbred suffered a horrific double bone fracture just above his ankle in his right leg.
However, despite that set-back, Skjelbred recovered and fought to re-establish his place within the Rosenborg line-up. And the hard work payed off, as he went on to produce a string of consistent performances for the Trondheim outfit. But, by now the the interest from the ‘big clubs’ in Europe had dwindled some-what, so Skjelbred remained a Rosenborg player until 2011, before moving to the German team — Hamburger SV.
Next came the interest from Hertha Berlin, joining them firstly in a loan move in the 2013-14 season. After impressing during that spell, Hertha decided to make the move a permanent one. Skjelbred continued to feature regularly in the Bundisliga for Hertha and in turn this seemed to help his International form.
Then, in 2014, following the retirement of the then Norway captain — Brede Hangeland, Skjelbred was awarded the international captaincy. In what was and still is a difficult transition period for the national team; Skjelbred helped hold together a team lacking top level experience. Upon receiving the armband, he also become the point of focus for much of the younger squad members and someone for them to look-up to, this and Skjelbred’s consistency on the pitch will almost certainly be missed, in what are now uncertain times for Norway.
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2011 Rosenborg 156 (9)
2011–2014 Hamburger SV 26 (0)
2013–2014 → Hertha BSC (loan) 28 (2)
2014– Hertha BSC 68 (0)
2007–2017 Norway 43 (1)