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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Man Utd striker Solskjaer retires
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Solskjaer has scored 126 goals in his Man Utd career
Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has retired from football.

The 34-year-old, who scored the winner in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 1999, has been battling knee injuries for four years.

"I would like to thank manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the coaching and medical staff and most of all the supporters," Solskjaer told the club website.

He added: "They have been fantastic and were a real inspiration to me when I was out injured."

606: COMMENT
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

The player's father Oyvind Solskjaer said: "He would have liked to stay on and was hoping for a 100% recovery.

"But something has happened with his knee which made it impossible for him to continue."

Solskjaer, who will remain at the club as a coach, joined United from Molde for 1.5m in 1996 and the former Norway international has made 366 appearances for United, scoring 126 goals.

He also collected six league championship and two FA Cup medals with United.

Ferguson said: "Ending your playing career is a sad day for anyone, in the case of Ole, he has 11 fantastic years he can look back on.

He has been a great servant to the club and has always remained a model professional

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

"Ole has achieved everything a player could ever wish to achieve.

"He has been a great servant to the club and has always remained a model professional in his responsibility as a player, in his demeanour and his manners have always been exemplary. Ole will hopefully go on to be a good coach."

The club's chief executive David Gill said: "Ole has provided us all with some exceptional memories during his time here at the club.

"Nobody will ever forget his dramatic winner in Barcelona, but much more than that his dedication and professionalism make him one of the great role models in football.

"Ole will be dearly missed as a player, but will go on to serve the club as an ambassador and a valuable coach."

Solskjaer scored 11 goals as the Red Devils reclaimed their Premier League crown last season.

His last game for Sir Alex Ferguson's side was the FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea on 19 May when he came on as an extra-time substitute at Wembley.

He has already spent time at United coaching young players and was appointed a club ambassador last year.

The retirement of Solskjaer leaves Ferguson with only three strikers - Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha and Carlos Tevez - the latter being the only one presently fully fit.

Ferguson has been linked with a move for Bolton's Nicolas Anelka and Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov, although the latter has insisted his immediate future lies at White Hart Lane.

I would like to thank manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the coaching and medical staff and most of all the supporters

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

United have sold fellow strikers Alan Smith to Newcastle and Giuseppe Rossi to Villarreal.

Tevez has also been included in Argentina's squad for the friendly against Australia in Melbourne next month, which could further stretch Ferguson's resources.

Saha, whose own United career has been dogged by injury, had hoped to make his return against Spurs at the weekend but his comeback was aborted.

He is expected to be fit to face Sunderland at the weekend, but his persistent knee problems have proved a major cause of concern.

Solskjaer returned to fitness last term, and was hopeful of playing a meaningful role this season, despite undergoing minor knee surgery in June.

But he has had problems during his rehabilitation and recently admitted he fully expected this to be his last season.

Now the announcement that one of Old Trafford's most popular figures is quitting the game has been brought forward.



SEE ALSO
Comment: Solskjaer the great
28 Aug 07 |  Football
Solskjaer career photos
28 Aug 07 |  Football
Solskjaer signs new Man Utd deal
31 Mar 06 |  Man Utd
Solskjaer makes reserves return
10 Feb 06 |  Man Utd
Buoyant Solskjaer back in action
05 Dec 05 |  Man Utd
Solskjaer faces lay-off
22 Jul 04 |  Man Utd


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