Sports News in Brief: Real Madrid pays its respects to legendary Danish midfielder

In other news, bright futures lie ahead for footballer Nadia Nadim and speed skater Elena Møller Rigas, a strong medal prospect at the 2018 Winter Olympics

Henning Jensen, a former international footballer regarded as one of Denmark’s greatest ever players, has died of cancer. He was 68.

After starting his career at lowly Nørresundby, the midfielder went on to win league titles at three of Europe’s biggest sides between 1972 and 1981.

Three of the big six
At Borussia Mönchengladbach, where the freekick specialist spent four seasons, he won two Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Cup.

He then moved to Real Madrid for three seasons, where he won La Liga twice, and then to Ajax for two more, where he won the Eredivisie.

Respect at the Bernabéu
Returning to Denmark in 1981, he spent two seasons at AGF but failed to add a Danish championship medal to his haul.

In total, he played 21 games for the national side and scored nine goals. However, his best remembered goal was for an international all-star line-up at Wembley to mark Denmark, the UK and Ireland’s accession to the EU in 1973. Providing the assist was Bobby Charlton. (see the goal in this DR video)

A minute’s silence was held at Real’s Bernabéu Stadium on Wednesday evening’s Champions League match as the players donned black armbands in his memory.

Nadia Nadim named Dane of the Year
Nadia Nadim has been been named ‘Dane of the Year’ by readers of Berlingske newspaper. She saw off competition from nine other nominees, including architect Bjarke Ingels and DF leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl. At the beginning of 2017, few people knew her name, but a momentous year – in which she helped her country to finish runners-up at Euro 2017 and secured lucrative contracts with Nike and Manchester City, who she will join in January – has seen her star rise dramatically. Her inspirational back story – how she arrived as a 12-year-old refugee from Afghanistan and is now close to qualifying as a doctor – has resonated with many Danes. And it helps that she is pretty good at football too.

Women’s handball team face dilemma in final group match
The Danish women’s side has qualified for the final 16 knockout stage of the 2017 IHF World Women’s Handball Championship with one game to spare, but faces a dilemma heading into its final group game against Russia at 20:30 on Friday. Should Norway lose to Sweden in a game starting at the same time, Denmark could end up facing them in the quarter-finals if they top the group. A better option, therefore, might be to deliberately lose and finish third in the group behind Montenegro, who they lost to in their opening game.

Speed skater tipped to win rare Winter Olympic medal
A female Danish speed skater has won a silver in a World Cup mass start event in Calgary, raising hopes Denmark could win its first ever skating medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and just its second in the history of the competition. Elena Møller Rigas, 21, has now qualified for the Olympics as a result of accumulating enough points over the season, as has men’s skater Viktor Hald Thorup. Denmark’s only previous medal at a Winter Olympics was a silver won by the women’s curling team at the 1998 Nagano games.

Schmeichel criticised over Russian job
Former Danish national and Manchester United keeper Peter Schmeichel is under fire following his decision to take a job as a sports host on the Russian state-owned television station RT, which was formerly better known as Russia Today.  Most of the criticism revolved around RT being a propagandist news distributor. One Twitter commenter summed up the surprise when he wrote: “Seriously? I can understand why it was enticing, but in the bigger perspective it’s worse than playing for Manchester City.”

Third time lucky at the Indianapolis Colts?
Could it be third time lucky for Andreas Knappe in the NFL? After failing to make the roster with Washington Redskins, and then Atlanta Falcons, the 26-year-old offensive tackle is now training with the Indianapolis Colts, with whom he has a practice squad contract. The Colts are apparently impressed with the Dane, but unlikely to formally recruit him until January 3. A practice squad player can only be signed by another NFL team if that team adds the player to their 53-man active roster.

Two medals in ten pin bowling world championships
The Danish men’s team took bronze in the 2017 WTBA World Tenpin Bowling Championships in Las Vegas on December 4, adding to a silver that Maj Ginge Jensen took in the women’s singles.  The Danish men lost their semi-final 2-1 to Chinese Taipei, who then went on to lose the final to the US.