Legendary Danish footballer passes away at 73

Harald Nielsen was an instrumental figure in Danish football

One of Denmark’s most loved footballing heroes, Harald Nielsen – popularly known as ‘Guld Harald’ (‘Gold Harald’) – has passed away aged 73 after a long-term illness.

The former striker enjoyed an illustrious career that started in Frederikshavn before moving to Italy’s Serie A where he scored 81 goals in 157 games for Bologna, winning the championship in 1964, before moving on to Inter, in a deal that was the most expensive transfer in history at the time, Napoli and Sampdoria.

Nielsen also scored 15 goals in just 14 games for the Danish national team and was the top scorer at the 1960 Olympic Games with six goals, where he led the Danes to a silver medal.

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Banned for being professional
Nielsen would eventually be prohibited from playing for Denmark after joining Bologna at the age of 19 because the national football association, the DBU, didn’t allow professionals to represent Denmark until 1971.

After hanging up his football boots in 1970, Nielsen started a company that imported Italian leather goods to Scandinavia.

Later, he became politically active in football and helped make football professional in Denmark in 1978.

He was instrumental in the creation of FC Copenhagen in 1992 and was the chairman of the club from 1992-1997, remaining on the board until 2006.


FCK held a minute of silence for Harald Nielsen during a recent match (photo: Christian Wenande)