Patrick Vieira, Kasper Dolberg, Nice

Kasper Dolberg: 5 things on the Nice and Denmark striker

Publish on 26/03/2020 at 10h46


Kasper Dolberg's 11 goals in 22 games have helped fire OGC Nice into contention for the European places, but what else is there to know about "ice-cold" 22-year-old Dane?

1) Early beginnings


Born in Silkeborg in the heart of Denmark in October 1997, Dolberg began his footballing journey with local club Silkeborg IF, whom he signed with aged 13. The young striker was handed his first team debut some five months before his 18th birthday and was soon whisked off to Ajax in the summer of 2015.


Danish scout John Steen Olsen had previously recommended former Tottenham Hostpur star Christian Eriksen to the record Dutch champions, as well as a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic - who spent three seasons with the club eight years before his 113 goals in 122 games spell with Paris Saint-Germain - and Dolberg would soon prove he belonged in that elite-level company.


Watch: A look back on Zlatan's 30-goal season for PSG in 2012-13


2) Records


On 20 November 2016, Dolberg scored a first-half hat-trick in Ajax's 5-0 Eredivisie win against NEC Nijmegen, making him the youngest non-Dutch player ever to record a three-goal haul for the club at the age of 19 years, one month and one day old.


Ibrahimovic had also made his Ajax debut aged 19, but the record left the PSG legend's in its wake. As well as the Swede, Ajax have enjoyed some fine non-Dutch attackers, from Jari Litmanen through Nwankwo Kanu to Luis Suarez, but Dolberg's record would seem safe for now.


3) Derby habit


Dolberg may be the owner of some headline stats, but he also does it when it matters. He scored his first goal in the Dutch Klassieker between Ajax and Feyenoord to seal a 1-1 draw in Rotterdam in late 2016, adding another two goals in a 4-1 win against the same opponents in October of the next year.


Dolberg's best outing for Nice had been the 2-1 win over Olympique Lyonnais in Round 22, in which he scored both goals, but he proved his flair for the big occasion beyond any reasonable doubt in the last game before the recent break in play.


AS Monaco had been resurgent coming into the Derby de la Côte d'Azur clash with Nice in Round 28, and led for the first hour thanks to Wissam Ben Yedder's 18th goal of the season. Dolberg had fed off scraps in the first half, and only had two clear-cut chances in the second. He took them both with aplomb, though, equalising in the 59th minute and sealing the win in the 93rd.


Watch: Highlights of Nice's Dolberg-inspired 2-1 win over Monaco


4) A popular figure


Nice have enjoyed cult heroes of the goalscoring variety in Alassane Pléa and Mario Balotelli in recent seasons, so Dolberg had some significant boots to fill when we swapped Amsterdam for the Côte d'Azur at the start of this season.


His early weeks at the club might have been unsettling too, with a youth teammate released by the club having stolen his watch from the changing room. Dolberg has an iron will, though, and has settled quickly, both on and off the pitch.


"He deserves his plaudits it because he works like a madman," says young centre-back Malang Sarr. "We know he doesn't need 50 balls into the box to find the bottom corner.


"He's a killer. He's ice cold. When he scores, he's cold. When he plays, he's cold. He's so composed and at his age to have this quality, there are not many strikers in the world who do. We're happy to have him with us."


5) Leaving their Den-mark


Some 75 Danes have now plied their trade in the French top flight. Kaj Andrup was the first back in 1932, featuring for the now-defunct Club Français. Dolberg was the 74th, the striker joined at Nice by compatriot Riza Durmisi on loan from Lazio in the winter transfer window.


With centre-back Joachim Andersen also at Lyon, there are three Danes in total playing in Ligue 1 Conforama this season.