At the grand old age of 35, Brede Hangeland has today chosen to announce his retirement from football after coming to the conclusion that “now is the right time” to call quits on his 16-year professional career.
Having made his name in Norway and Denmark, Hangeland moved to Fulham in 2008 and quickly set about becoming something of a club hero, providing an ever-reliable and solid presence at the back while playing his part in some of the most remarkable moments in the Cottagers’ recent history – notably their run to the 2010 Europa League Final.
He was then released via email following Fulham’s relegation to the Championship in 2014. The less said about that particularly sorry fiasco, the better.
The Norwegian centre-half then moved on to Crystal Palace where, despite once again proving himself a man of the people, repeated injuries hampered his two-year stint.
However, the true highlight of Hangeland’s long and storied career must surely be his all-too brief dalliance with certifiably barmy Fulham boss Felix Magath, who once attempted to heal the defender’s iffy thigh muscle (which flared up at the business end of the 2013/14 season) by harnessing the soothing power of cheese.
We’ll let Daniel Taylor, then of the Observer, take up the tale from here:
Hangeland, then the Fulham captain, was diagnosed with a slight thigh injury and the club’s doctor, Stephen Lewis, with more than a decade of working in elite sport, put together a recovery programme to try to get him fit for the weekend.
Except Magath thought he knew better. There was another way to treat the problem, he said. So he sent the kit-man to the Tesco in New Malden, a short drive along the A3 from Fulham’s training ground, to buy a large block of cheese.
Hangeland was then told to perch on the end of a massage table and spend the afternoon in that position with a slab of cheese carefully positioned on the sore spot.
The cheese, according to Magath, would have soothing effects.
It didn’t, and Hangeland remained sidelined for the rest of the season, eventually returning to training in mid-June. Both Hangeland and Dr Lewis left the club shortly thereafter.
Magath subsequently took to Facebook to explain the science behind his cheese treatment, claiming that Swiss alpine skiers have been using refrigerated quark (cottage cheese) to help deal with joint and tissue inflammation for decades.
Those were good times. Some would say better times.
Anyway, so long Brede and thanks for all the fish/cheese.