PETER SCHMEICHEL Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Peter Boleslaw Schmeichel MBE (born November 18, 1963) is a Danish former professional footballer who retired from playing football in April 2003. Schmeichel was a key member of the Danish national football team which won the 1992 European Championship (Euro 92). He played the position of goalkeeper and he was voted the “World’s Best Goalkeeper” in 1992 and 1993. His most successful years were in England with club Manchester United, with whom he won the 1999 UEFA Champions League.


He is the most capped player of the Denmark national team, with 129 games and 1 goal, and he captained the team in 30 matches. Apart from the Euro 92, he also played for his country at Euro 88, Euro 96, the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. He scored his only goal, a penalty kick, in a friendly match 2-2 draw against Belgium, June 3, 2000. He retired from international football in April 2001 when he played a planned farewell match against Slovenia.


Scored 13 goals in his career, a great feat for a keeper.


Playing style


At his peak he was arguably the world’s best goalkeeper; A charismatic keeper with presence and excellent shot-stopping skills, but equally famous for his temper. He would frequently shout at defenders, especially Steve Bruce at Manchester United, although the two have remained firm friends, and Marc Rieper for Denmark. One of his key strengths was the long throw-out, used to launch quick counter-attacks. As soon as Schmeichel gained control of the ball from the opposing team in the United penalty area, he would search out Manchester United’s two wingers Ryan Giggs and David Beckham and throw the ball to them in order to catch the opposing team off balance.


Despite being a goalkeeper, he would run into the attack on corner kicks if the team was behind. He once scored a goal in this fashion, for Manchester United, in a 1995 UEFA Cup match against Rotor Volgograd. He scored in the last minutes of the game, though to no avail as United was eliminated from the tournament on the away goals rule.




Schmeichel was born in Soborggard parish, Gladsaxe in Denmark. His father was Polish and his mother was Danish, and Peter Schmeichel was a Polish citizen until 1970 when his father, his siblings and himself became Danish citizens. Schmeichel played his first years at local teams in Gladsaxe before moving to Hvidovre IF in the top-flight Danish 1st Division championship in 1984.


Playing Career


Despite the fifth best defense in the league, conceding 40 goals in 30 games, Schmeichel and Hvidovre finished in 14th place and were relegated in 1985. After only a single season the club bounced right back to the 1st Division, but Schmeichel was lost for Hvidovre. He moved to Danish vice-champions Brondby IF before the 1987 season. Winning the Danish league in his first year, he joined a club which he helped turn into a success. In all, Schmeichel and his club won four championships in five seasons. The climax of his Brondby career would come in the European 1991 UEFA Cup competition, which saw Schmeichel as an important part of the team that reached the semi-finals. The club was eliminated by AS Roma with a last-minute goal by Rudi Voller.


Following his showings on the international scene, Manchester United bought him in 1991 for £533,000, a prize which was praised in 2000 by Manchester manager Alex Ferguson as the “bargain of the century". He and United finished runners-up in his first season, but won the FA Premier League championship the next two years in a row. In 1994, Schmeichel had a bust-up with Ferguson as United had squandered a 3-0 lead to a 3-3 draw with Liverpool FC. The two had a row where Schmeichel “said the most horrible things” (sagde de frygteligste ting) and he was subsequently fired by Ferguson. A few days later, Schmeichel made an improvised apology to the other players. Unbeknownst to him, Ferguson was eavesdropping on the seance, and he let Schmeichel stay at Manchester United. Schmeichel went on to play the bulk of his career for United, eight years in total, where he enjoyed great success.


He ended his Manchester United career on the highest note in 1999, when Schmeichel and United won the Treble, being the FA Premier League title, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, in the same season. He made one of his most memorable saves in that year’s FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal FC when he saved a penalty kick by Dennis Bergkamp in the last minutes of the game, and in the absence of Roy Keane he captained United in the UEFA Champions League final 2-1 win on May 26, 1999 against Bayern Munich, his last game for the club. With United, Schmeichel won five FA Premier League titles, three FA Cups, the UEFA Champions League, and a League Cup.


Schmeichel moved to Sporting Lisbon, where he won the Portuguese league title in 1999/2000, his first season with the club. His second year with Sporting would be remarkable in that it was the first time in 14 years, since his Hvidovre days, that Schmeichel’s club would finish below second place in the domestic league competition. He returned to England with Aston Villa in 2001. On October 20, 2001, Schmeichel became the first goalkeeper to score a Premiership goal, netting in a 3-2 defeat away to Everton. A goalkeeper scoring in the Premier League is a feat only repeated once, by Blackburn Rovers’ Brad Friedel on February 21, 2004. Schmeichel played his last active year for Manchester City during the 2002/03 season.




After a short stint as club owner of childhood club Hvidovre IF, Schmeichel began hosting live UEFA Champions League-matches at Danish television channel TV3+, with Preben Elkjśr and Brian Laudrup the studio pundits. Peter used to have a career working as a pundit for the BBC until 2005, when he was dropped for reportedly not being of good enough standard, a harsh comment considering that English is not his first language.


His popularity in Britain is perhaps best measured by Les Battersby on the soap Coronation Street naming his family’s dog (a Great Dane) ‘Schmeichel’. In 2003, Schmeichel was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his impact on the English game. On March 4, 2004, Peter Schmeichel was named as one of the 125 greatest living footballers, at the FIFA 100 celebrations.


He has a son, Kasper Schmeichel, who plays as goalkeeper for Manchester City. Kasper was called up for the Danish U-19 squad in August 2003 and he got his first experience of first team football at League 2 side Darlington FC in 2005.


He also took part in Soccer Aid, and played for the Rest of the World team.