bundesliga

Emil Forsberg: Who is the RB Leipzig and Sweden star?

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Emil Forsberg has blossomed into one on the Bundesliga's best wingers since joining RB Leipzig from Malmö in January 2015.

Emil Forsberg

Age: 32
Club: RB Leipzig
Position: Winger/attacking midfielder
Country: Sweden (84 caps/20 goals)

Key stats

Football is in Forsberg’s blood: grandfather Lennart played for Sundsvall in the 1950s, father Leif 'Foppa' Forsberg became a club legend, scoring 143 goals in more than 400 games for the team during the 1980s and '90s, even having his No.10 shirt retired in honour of his achievements with the Giffarna. Known as 'mini-Foppa', Emil went on to make it a hat-trick for the Forsbergs when he made his pro debut aged 17 in 2009. He scored 24 goals in 97 league appearances for Sundsvall before moving to Malmö.

Forsberg took time to settle into his new surrounds, but once he did, 57 Allsvenskan outings yielded 19 goals, 13 assists two top-flight titles and earned him the Allsvenskan Midfielder of the Year award. Several appearances in the UEFA Champions League were another impressive addition to the Forsberg CV, which landed on Leipzig's desk towards the end of 2014.

Forsberg lived up to the hype. After helping Leipzig to a historic Bundesliga promotion in 2015/16, the Swede set a then-record for most assists in a single Bundesliga season with 19. Injury checked his progress, though he did score Leipzig's first ever Champions League goal in their debut outing against Monaco in September 2017. He was on target four times during Leipzig's run to the 2019/20 Champions League semi-finals, and was the club's biggest goal threat on all fronts the following year (eight goals, five assists).

In recent seasons, silverware has started to follow his impressive attacking output, with back-to-back DFB Cup wins preceding the 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Supercup at the start of this season. Forberg's Leipzig career record now reads 38 games played, with 69 goals and 67 assists across all competitions.

Watch: An Emil Forsberg highlight reel

Plays a bit like: Franck Ribery

Forsberg's ability to glide past opposition players and cut in off the left flank to arrow a right-footed shot towards goal or tee up a teammate has drawn comparisons with legendary Bayern Munich winger, Franck Ribery. The Swede likes a postage-stamp free-kick, too.

Did you know?

"When I was in my early teens, I faced my first rejection, and it hit me hard," Forsberg explained in a piece for The Players' Tribune. "I had been trying to get into this place called the Halmstad Elite Camp, which is where the Swedish Football Association picks the youth national team. And guess what their reason was for rejecting me? … Wait for it…. They thought I was too small."

They were wrong. Three years later, the 5'10" Forsberg made his debut for Sundsvall, in Sweden's second division. The rest is history.

Forsberg has scored 22 goals in 126 Bundesliga appearances, including three against record champions Bayern Munich. - motivio via www.imago-images.de/imago images/motivio

What they're saying

"Emil's a very intelligent player. Put simply, he's a very good footballer." - former Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann

"Emil's great to play alongside in attack. He creates chances and scores goals." - Leipzig and Germany forward Timo Werner

"He had more of a positive influence on the game than [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. He played very well." - former Leipzig sporting director and coach Ralf Rangnick, following Sweden's Euro 2016 play-off win over Denmark