Firstly, the man loved a goal. Like Lionel Messi, Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski, names we're obviously all familiar with, his game plan was totally based around finding the back of the net. And whatever club he joined, be it IFK Norrköping, Milan or Roma, goals were scored.
Secondly, he held the distinguished title of
Nordahl was Serie A's leading striker for the first half of the 1950s, top scoring in five of six seasons starting with 1949/50, hitting 30 or more in three of them. In pure goalscoring terms, not many could keep up with the Swede. The history books tell us only two players were more successful in striking in Serie A: Silvio Piola and Francesco Totti.
He also wasn't bad on the international stage either, scoring 43 goals in 33 appearances for Sweden, though his move to Milan did effectively end his career with the national team, being left out of the squad for the 1950 World Cup.
We remember Gunnar Nordahl the man who scored the most goals in #ACMilan history, on what would have been his 97th birthday — AC Milan (@acmilan) October 19, 2018
Oggi Gunnar Nordahl avrebbe compiuto 97 anni: ricordiamo insieme l'attaccante che nella nostra storia ha segnato più reti pic.twitter.com/dnTr1KkdAY
But let's get to know the lad a bit first, eh?
Nordahl started out at hometown club Hörnefors IF, playing three years in the north of Sweden and netting at a rate of more than a goal a game before heading down south to play for Degerfors IF. His stats with the latter weren't quite as impressive, managing 56 in 77 games, but that's hardly a record to be sniffed at.
He stayed at
What one must remember is how different a time the 1950s was in football terms to what we watch now. There were strings at the top of shirts instead of skin-tight numbers designed to suck on the belly. Goalkeepers had no gloves to protect their fingers from those heavy leather balls.
And that latter point would definitely be a scary one nowadays if a shot stopper had to face
One of his greatest Milan performances came during the 1949/50 season, when Juventus and Milan - the two teams vying for the Serie A title - came face to face in Turin.
Juve's one hotshot Scandinavian John Hansen put the hosts ahead, but all that seemed to do was anger
Milan would eventually win 7-1 (7-1), yet would still finish five points behind Juventus in that season's Serie A title race. Can you imagine Manchester City beating Liverpool 7-1 this season and still finishing second? That's how weird that result was.
For all his exploits on the pitch, his legacy outside Italy and Sweden is hard to decipher. Once his goalscoring days with Milan were over, Nordahl would join Roma for two more seasons and eventually retire in 1958, with two Serie A titles in the bank.
In goalscoring terms, there were few who could match his exploits. He was, in many ways, a classic poacher, finding himself in the right positions time and time again to provide the finishing touch for Milan, who boasted incredible other stars like Lorenzo Buffon
90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here.
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