Nils Middelboe

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Nils Middelboe (October 5, 1887 in Brunnby, Sweden – September 21, 1976) was a Danish athlete and football player as well as a football referee, who most prominently represented the Denmark national football team at the 1908, 1912 and 1920 Summer Olympics, winning silver medals in 1908 and 1912. He became the first ever goalscorer for the Danish national football team, when he scored in Denmark's debut game at the 1908 Summer Olympics. In 1913 he moved abroad to play for English club Chelsea F.C., and became the first foreign player to ever represent that club.

Middelboe was a man of great height for his time (standing at 6 foot 2 inches), which led to the media naming him "The Great Dane". He was also well respected as a gentleman of the game.


Middelboe was an amateur footballer throughout his career. He was a qualified lawyer and during his time at Chelsea he was employed at a bank in London. He would have gained thrice the salary as solely a professional footballer than he did as a banker-cum-amateur footballer, but he was (in his own words) "by no means mad about football". So as not to interfere with his career, Middelboe played in all home games, but was not required to travel to away games while at Chelsea.


Middelboe made his senior debut for Kjøbenhavns Boldklub (KB) in 1903, at the age of 16. At KB, he played alongside his older brothers Einar Middelboe and Kristian Middelboe, of whom Kristian also played for the...
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