Genoa: the beautiful story of Albert Guðmundsson charms all of Italy


By: Manu Tournoux

His name may mean nothing to you in France but the Icelandic striker, Albert Guðmundsson (26 years old), leaves no one indifferent in Italy. After starting his career in the Netherlands, where he wore the colors of his training club PSV Eindhoven (12 matches) then AZ Alkmaar (101 matches), the Reykjavik native joined the world of Italian Calcio on January 31, 2022, during the winter transfer window, when he signed with the Italian club Genoa. If Guðmundsson quickly acclimatized in the capital of the Liguria region, he could not prevent the descent of the Genoese Grifone into Serie B. In the Italian antechamber, the 26-year-old Icelander was one of the major architects of Genoa’s rise and return to Serie A, finishing last season with 14 goals scored in 38 matches played in all competitions. And this season, Albert Guðmundsson continues his impressive development. He is one of the offensive elements essential to the proper functioning of the collective system of the Italian coach, Alberto Gilardino. In the last two matches, against Juventus (1-1) and Sassuolo (1-2), he scored his sixth and seventh goal in Serie A, twice as many as Rafael Leão this season. He also delivered his first assist yesterday against the Neroverdi.

The Icelander’s numbers are impressive: the Genoa number 11 is one of the best dribblers in the Italian league with 27 successes, while being first in Serie A in successful crosses (28) with Federico Dimarco of Inter and the third in key passes. He is an atypical striker, a modern player, perfect for Gilardino’s team who take advantage of spaces in different areas of the pitch. : “I put myself at the service of the team. I work hard and I want to enjoy every day, knowing that a good routine can help me grow more. We are a great group, but still in the growth phase. We come from Serie B, it takes time, but for me, within two years, this Genoa will be able to enter the ten best clubs in Serie A. The team made me grow, I then had a lot of help from my teammates. And what understanding with Retegui, Ekuban and Puscas»said the darling of the Luigi-Ferraris stadium in an exclusive interview granted to our Italian colleagues from the Gazzetta dello Sport. But behind this meteoric sporting rise lies an incredible family story, a marvelous story that Italy loves.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather…

Sometimes a destiny can be written in advance. Albert Guðmundsson comes from a great football family. His father is former international striker Guðmundur Benediktsson. Albert’s mother is former international player Kristbjörg Ingadóttir, herself the daughter of former international striker Ingi Björn Albertsson, who held the record for the most goals in the Icelandic top flight from 1987 to 2012: “There were around twenty hours of sunshine and we took advantage of it to play football, without ever stopping. There were times when my mother had to come and call me at two in the morning to stop and come home.”the 26-year-old then declared in the columns of La Repubblica. But the Genoa striker, who makes all of Italy dream, is above all the great-grandson of… Albert Sigurdur Guðmundsson. Born in Reykiavik in 1923, the great-grandfather of Grifone number 11 is a pioneer in football history, as Iceland’s first professional player. After starting out playing football at a small local Icelandic club in Valur, he then traveled to Scotland to study commerce at Skerry’s College in Glasgow, whilst wearing a Rangers jersey. Following his short stay there, Albert Sigurdur Guðmundsson then went to England where he played for Arsenal as an amateur. However, once his university career ended, he was forced to leave London because he did not have his residence permit in order. Left without a club, the idea of ​​ending his career prematurely, at just 24 years old, had not occurred to him at all. He therefore decided to continue his tour of Europe in France and settled at AS Nancy-Lorraine until 1948.

But Albert Sigurdur Guðmundsson is also the first Icelandic player to arrive in Italy. After long and exhausting negotiations during the transfer window, Papi Albert actually signed for AC Milan in the fall of 1948, when the Rossoneri leaders decided to buy out his contract for 11 million lire. A pioneer who without a shadow of a doubt opened the way for dozens of talents who came in the following decades from other cold boreal lands (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland). On April 24, 1949, following several serious injuries including to the meniscus, he played his last match with Milan against… Genoa. The same club which, seventy-four years later, would welcome its great-grandson of the same name. Placed on the transfer list, Albert Sigurdur Guðmundsson returned to France in the summer of 1949, where he played three seasons at Racing Paris then three other campaigns with OGC Nice, before returning to his native country to complete the circle with Valur and living a new life off the field. After retiring from sports, he embarked on a political career, becoming president of the Icelandic Football Federation and then rising to the post of Minister of Industry. Since February 2010, a statue of him has been installed in front of the headquarters of the Icelandic Football Federation, proving the considerable impact that Albert Senior had on the spread of football on his native island: “My great-grandfather played at a high level and, of course, I would love to reach those heights. Since I was a child, I dreamed of playing in a top team to fight for titles and win the Champions League.the Genoa striker then explained.

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