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"Ødegaard? In Norway, his reputation comes before him"

Mini Jakobsen was part of the Rosenborg which met Real Madrid in the group stage in 1997/8. He remembered that November 1997 meeting at the Lerkendal Stadion with AS.

"Ødegaard? In Norway, his reputation comes before him"
Chema Díaz

Mini Jakobsen was part of the Rosenborg side which met Real Madrid in the 1997/98 Champions League group stage. The Norwegians ran out 2-0 winners in that November 1997 meeting at the Lerkendal Stadion, a night which the former winger fondly remembered, in the company of AS.

What are you doing these days Mini?

I work in television as a commentator - that's what I've been doing more or less since I played my last game at the Lerkendal - against Real Madrid, about 16 and half years ago...

You were part of the team that beat Madrid in Trondheim, in 1997...

Yes. Raúl was their star player and we beat them. Early on they had a lot of chances but couldn't put them away. I remember coming up against [full-back] Chendo, he went one way, and I went the other; I set up both of our goals that night, they said on television that Chendo was looking for me...

Chendo "goes looking" for Jakobsen in November '97 meeting.
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Chendo "goes looking" for Jakobsen in November '97 meeting.

He's here, he's come with Madrid...

He probably won't remember me, although I do have to go to Madrid's team hotel later (laughs).

Rosenborg didn't do so badly at the Bernabéu that year either...

I scored the equaliser to make it 1-1! It's a great feeling to go head over heels at the Bernabéu (he celebrated with a somersault). We went on to lose 4-1 because our keeper was having a terrible night.

What differences do you notice between those days and now?

When we saw saw that we had been drawn against Real Madrid, we thought 'Ok, no problem, we can do it'. That changed. If the two teams were to be drawn against each other today, the obvious thing which would happen is that they would put three or four past us. When you are playing your first Champions League game and you see all the big name stars, the first players think about is swapping shirts at the end...

Rosenborg's Runar Berg in the 2-0 win over Real Madrid. 27th November 1997
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Rosenborg's Runar Berg in the 2-0 win over Real Madrid. 27th November 1997STRREUTERS

Did you swap shirts with anyone?

No, I don't think so (thinks hard). Well, come to think of it I do have a purple shirt. I think it was a Madrid midfielder, I'll have to dig it out to have a look.


Yes. I think I have in in a draw somewhere in the garage… Sometimes you put in things in drawers and never really think about them again. Redondo was a bit like Zidane, very graceful - like a dancer, he moved well. And he was very strong too.

Did you know that your first game against Real Madrid was also the first time Casillas was called by the first team?

Yes, I saw that in a documentary. He was in school in someone from the club called him to tell him to come to the training ground. It's a great story.

Two years after that you did play against him. But you didn't score. That was Madrid's second game at the Lerkendal...

Raúl scored on 3 minutes and that was enough for them. That was my last game - in March [2000], the ski season ended on the Sunday and we played on the Wednesday.

Do you think that's why you lost?

Of course, it's the only reason (laughs). It hold good memories for me. It was my final game and we were playing against one of the best teams in the world, with 20,000 specactors bidding me farewell. I even remember Roberto Carlos appluading me and Real Madrid's players on their feet applauding me. That was a wonderful way to end it.

Madrid also have good memories of the Lerkendal. They've played there three times and on two on them, went on to win the Champions League...

That's right, in 1997 they only lost against us...

For Norwegians, what does it mean when Real Madrid come to visit?

Not that much really. Here, the people really like English football, few people know Sevilla. If it had been Madrid vs Liverpool the tickets would have sold out in half an hour. Madrid's players can go out onto the street and there won't be hundreds of people following them around. It's not crazy as though Justin Bieber is in town.

It's a shame that Odegaard hasn't travelled with the team...

Has he stayed back in Madrid? He should have come just for the benefit of the people, even if he didn't play. He's a very good player. He was 16 went he joined Madrid and I think he made the wrong decision.

Should he have gone out on loan?

Yes. But is he really good enough to play in the Bundesliga or the Premier League? Maybe he should have gone to Belgium or Holland… He's only 17. With Norway, he has hold of the ball but he doesn't carry it forward, and in football you have to take risks. He made his debut against Croatia and at the end of the game he was asked whether he was nervous because 90% of his passes forward went astray, the only ones which found a player were the ones he played to team mates who were close; anyway he said he wasn't nervous and I thought, 'you've got a problem' - you have to create a lot more if you want to be given 10 out of 10. But you have to remember, he's only 17, and so there's no point in judging him now.

You don't seem to be a big fan of him...

He's closely followed by people here in Norway and me, who played 65 times for our national team, I am only saying that to play over there, you have to do a lot more.

Maybe some people want to create a star before he has had a chance to show what he can do…

Yes, his reputation comes before him and is bigger than the player he actually is at the moment. He had a coach who said exactly that. And maybe that's what's happening in Norway, his name overshadows everything he has achieved.


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