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Mikael Kaj Forssell (born 15 March 1981) is a Finnishmarker footballer who plays for Hannover 96 of the Germanmarker Bundesliga.

Club career

Born in Steinfurtmarker, Germanymarker, and considered one of the most talented Finnish footballers of all time, Forssell made his Veikkausliiga debut for HJK at the age of just 16. His goal-scoring form for Finland's youth teams made him a target for a host of Europe's top clubs, and in 1998 the 17-year-old striker was snapped up by English Premier League club Chelsea.
Forssell on the cover of Finnish sports magazine IS Veikkaaja


But despite scoring twice in one of his earliest appearances for the club, Forssell found it hard to find a place in the Chelsea first team, and he was sent out to various loan spells, twice to Crystal Palace of the then First Division, once to Borussia M√∂nchengladbach of the German Bundesliga and twice to Birmingham City of the Premier League. Forssell scored seven Bundesliga goals for M√∂nchengladbach in the spring of 2003 and then 17 Premier League goals for Birmingham in the 2003‚Äď04 season (more league goals than any other Chelsea player), during which he was the division's joint fourth highest goalscorer. He was named Premier League Player of the Month for March 2004. He returned to Birmingham on loan for the 2004‚Äď05 season, but suffered the second serious knee injury of his career, which ruined his season.

In the summer of 2005 Forssell joined Birmingham on a three-year deal for a fee of ¬£3 million, after Chelsea decided that he did not figure in their long term plans. He struggled in the 2005‚Äď06 season, not having found his best form after his injury, and couldn't save Birmingham from relegation. Forssell suffered another cruel injury blow to his other knee during training in October 2006. This left him on the sidelines until he returned to training in February 2007 after undergoing operations on both knees. He was set to take a medical at Hamburger SV but it was reported that he failed. He remained at Birmingham to have another go at resurrecting his career.

His 2007‚Äď08 pre-season performances were good, he scored five goals in five games. His manager, Steve Bruce, was enthusiastic about his return to form. He continued his good form into the start of the season, scoring the opening goal of the match against Chelsea and consolidating his good form with two assists in the next three matches. He scored his first hat-trick at club level on 1 March 2008, in the 4‚Äď1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, when he scored with his left foot, right foot and head, which was described after as 'the perfect hat-trick'.

In May 2008, following the club's relegation from the Premier League, Forssell signed a pre-contract agreement to join Bundesliga club Hannover 96 on a free transfer when his Birmingham contract expires at the end of June. His contract with Hannover will run until the end of the 2010‚Äď11 season.

On his pre-season debut for Hannover, he scored a staggering 10 goals (he got his hat-trick in 8 minutes) in one game against amateurs FC Boffzen. The game ended up in being a 23-0 win for Hannover.

International career

Forssell has been a regular for the Finnish national team for most of the 2000s. He played his first match for Finland on 9 June 1999 against Moldova, and scored his first goal on 28 February 2001 against Luxembourg. His partnership with Jari Litmanen has worked especially well. Finland has suffered greatly from Forssell's injury problems, as he had to watch much of qualifying campaigns for both Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup from the sidelines. Forssell also played for Finland in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.

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