Martin Jorgensen: The Man Worth Zero Who Became a Hero
It can’t be easy to be a player nobody wanted.
When Fiorentina and Udinese went to sealed bids to settle their co-ownership of Martin Jorgensen in 2005, the results were not kind to the Danish midfielder.
Both teams offered nothing at all.
Italian league rules meant the Tuscan side, as the last one he had played for, kept the footballer.
It turned out to be the best money they never spent.
While his first season had not been a glittering success, hence the low offer for his services, he went on to become something of a stalwart.
He was both adaptable and dependable across a number of positions.
And every so often he would pop up with a vital goal.
With his unusual running style, it was easy to think that he was a bit too clumsy or idiosyncratic to make it in an elite league like Serie A.
However, when you scratched the surface, you actually got a classy professional who could play in countless positions and regularly came on as a substitute to help turn a game.
His first base in Italy was Udinese as a largely unheralded signing in 1997.
The Friuli club has made its reputation in recent years by uncovering foreign talent and they did it again with the gifted Dane.
He went on to play nearly 200 times for the boys from north east Italy and establish himself as a key performer for his country.
One of his finest moments at international level came with a goal which stunned Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals at France '98.
It could not help his nation to avoid defeat but it did put him on the football map as a player who could perform at the highest level.
It was something of a surprise, therefore, when Udinese agreed a deal with Fiorentina in 2004 to sell them "half" of the player. However, it has long been the north-eastern club's transfer policy to discover young talents and then move them on, usually at a profit.
His immediate impact in Florence was not great and resulted in the two zero bids at the end of that first campaign.
It might have been a blow to some players, but not Jorgensen.
He resolved to show the Viola they had been lucky to get him.
He ended up playing more than 150 games for Fiorentina, and no goal will be more precious than the one he struck last season to ensure that they got into the Champions League qualifying rounds once again.
His parting gift was not bad either.
A splendid strike at Anfield helped the Viola on their way to defeating Liverpool in the Champions League group stages.
Now he has signed a deal to return home to Aarhus, the Danish club where he started his career before moving to Udinese.
A World Cup outing with his country this summer is also still on the cards.
His spiky hair, sharp features, and drop-of-the-shoulder dribbles will be sorely missed at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in the weeks and months to come.
He will always have a place in Fiorentina hearts, even if they did once think he was worth nothing at all.
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