Ronny Johnsen

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Ronny Johnsen is a former Norwegian centre back who was born in Sandefjord, Norway on 10th June 1969. He began his youth career at Stokke IL, before moving to Eik-Tonsberg in 1989. Johnsen really made a name for himself at Lyn Oslo, who he joined in 1992. He was a regular for the Norwegian national side since 1991, but wasn't involved in the 1994 World Cup squad. Johnsen spent two years with Lillestrom, who he joined in 1994. He joined Turkish side Besiktas in 1995 and helped the club to a 3rd place finish in his only season at the club.

On 10th July 1996 Johnsen signed for Manchester United for £1,200,000. He made his debut for the Red Devils on 17th August in a 3-0 away win at Wimbledon, a match more famous for David Beckham's halfway line goal. Johnsen quickly became a fans favourite at Old Trafford, and picked up a league winners medal at the end of the 1996/97 campaign. He scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Charity Shield on 3rd August 1997.

Johnsen was part of Norway's 1998 22 man World Cup squad that reached the second round of the tournament. The following season he formed a terrific defensive partnership with new Dutch signing Jaap Stam. Johnsen was sometimes used in midfield during 1998/99, particularly in Europe where he was used to close down any space. He performed very well in this role in Champions League knockout ties against Inter and Juventus. Johnsen was very much part of United's historic treble that season, and was a starter in the FA Cup final and the European Cup final.

Johnsen missed most of the 1999/2000 season through injury. He made just three appearances, with his first coming in the title clinching game at Southampton on 22nd April 2000. Johnsen started 2000/01 in fine form, with a goal in a 2-0 win over Newcastle on 20th August 2000. He injured himself in November again however, which ruled him out of the game for five months. Johnsen returned to fitness in 2001/02, but wasn't quite at the same level he had been previously.

Johnsen joined Aston Villa in 2002 in what was a reasonable two year spell. He was part of a struggling side in 2002/03, but improved the following season under David O'Leary, helping Villa to a 6th place finish.

Southampton were in desperate need of a centre back during the summer of 2004 and offered Johnsen a trial. He played in the club's 3-1 friendly win over Chievo on 7th August 2004 and looked competent. He wasn't offered a contract however, with Saints concerned about his injury record. He joined Newcastle a few months later, but fitness issues persisted and he left the club after only five matches. Johnsen briefly retired from the game before a three year spell with Valerenga between 2005-2008. He made his last international appearance as late as 2007 in a 2-1 win over Argentina.