Bengt Erik Marcus Berg (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈmarːkɵs ˈbærj]; born 17 August 1986) is a Swedish professional footballer who plays as a striker for Al-Ain and the Sweden national team. He is currently rumored to join Christian Willhelmsson in playing for the Dubai Allstars Vets in the Dubai Amateur Football League for the season 19/20.
|Full name||Bengt Erik Markus Berg|
|Date of birth||17 August 1986|
|Place of birth||Torsby, Sweden|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|2010–2011||→ PSV (loan)||25||(8)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 07 May 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23 March 2019
Among dedicated IFK Göteborg supporters, Berg is known as Svarte-Marcus ("Black Marcus") due to his many goals in the Göteborg youth and reserve teams, and later also senior team. The nickname is an homage to the legendary IFK Göteborg striker Filip "Svarte-Filip" Johansson. Berg represented Sweden at Euro 2016 as well as at the 2018 World Cup.
After spending two years in the youth team, during the 2005 season Berg was promoted to the regular squad and played for IFK Göteborg in the Allsvenskan. During the time playing for IFK Göteborg, he played alongside his older brother Jonatan.
Berg played for IFK Göteborg until the 2007 summer and put forth an attracting performance throughout his final season, as he maintained a high scoring efficiency throughout the league matches. Göteborg won the league that season and Berg received a standing ovation upon leaving the field after the 5–0 away victory over Kalmar FF where Berg scored, which was his last for the club because of his suspension for the game against Djurgårdens IF.
In the 2008–09 season, Groningen remained top of the Eredivisie table after five games played. Berg had a good display as well. He managed to score 13 goals in 15 matches. He also scored four goals in a December game against Roda JC.
On 17 July 2009, German Bundesliga side Hamburger SV confirmed that Berg had signed a five-year contract with the club. The official FC Groningen website mentioned it was a record fee paid for a Groningen player. Dagblad van het Noorden, a Dutch newspaper, stated that Berg swapped clubs for €10.5 million. The contract also mentioned that a friendly match will be played between Groningen and Hamburg in the summer of 2010 or 2011 in the Euroborg, the main stadium of Groningen. Although initially the fee of €9.5 million was too high for Hamburg, Berg's desire of moving to the Bundesliga persuaded Groningen to complete the transfer. In his first Bundesliga game for Hamburg, playing at home against Borussia Dortmund, Berg scored his first goal for the club in the 72nd minute, just 182 seconds after coming off the bench, a record in the club's history. Despite the promising start, his debut season in the Bundesliga would not become a success, with Berg only scoring three additional goals in 30 appearances.
Return to HamburgEdit
After returning from his loan spell at PSV, Berg only made 13 appearances the 2011–12 Bundesliga due to injuries and continued lack of form, scoring once. On 9 November 2012, Hamburger SV athletic supervisor Frank Arnesen stated that the club had to sell five players to raise funds after having invested heavily in new players in the previous summer, including Dutch star Rafael van der Vaart; one of these five players was said to be Berg. After these news, Berg was linked with a return to his former club IFK Göteborg.
On 4 July 2013, it was revealed that Berg had travelled to Athens in order to sign with Panathinaikos. On 8 July 2013, Panathinaikos announced that Berg had signed a four-year contract with the club. On 18 August 2013, in his debut appearance, Berg scored his first goal with Panathinaikos, as his team won the game against Panetolikos. On the first derby of the year against PAOK, Berg scored Panathinaikos' goal and lost a penalty, as his team lost with a score of 2–1. On 2 March 2014, Berg was the MVP in the 3–0 away victory against Olympiacos with one goal and one assist for Danijel Pranjić. This was the biggest away victory in the history of the Eternal Rivals. The following week, he scored a hat-trick when Panathinaikos defeated Aris 4–1 at home.
On 26 April 2014, in the Greek Cup final against rivals PAOK, Berg scored a hat-trick to lead Panathinaikos to a 4–1 victory, who won the Greek Cup as they had done in 2010. On 11 January 2015, Berg scored his second hat-trick in a 5–0 home win against Ergotelis in the Superleague Greece. On 26 January 2015, he signed a one-year extension contract, until 2018. On 8 March, in a Panathinaikos–PAOK derby, Berg scored his third hat-trick in a 4–3 home win. On 30 March 2015, after two-and-a-half years, Berg scored his seventh international goal on friendly match against Iran.
On 31 August 2015, Panathinaikos rivals PAOK offered to €2 million for Berg, but the "Greens" turned it down. Additionally, Marseille tried to complete a move for the Swedish striker on the deadline date, however, they were put off by Panathinaikos's price tag.
On 6 September 2015, Berg was left frustrated as he did not start in the line-up for the game against Russia. Sweden lost 1–0 at the hands of Russia with Berg making his appearance for only 30 minutes on the pitch as he started from the bench. Swedish press criticised this decision and Berg demanded first team football in the National Team after the final whistle."Ola Toivonen is a kind of a different player than me and this decision has been taken. But it's pretty clear that I want to play as I'm in a decent form," the Panathinaikos striker underlined straight after the game. On 7 November 2015, he scored the winning goal in the 10th day of the Greek Superleague match against Atromitos, It was his 50th goal with the club in all competitions. On 24 January 2016, almost 2,5 months since his last goal in the Superleague, Berg scored leading his club to away 2–0 victory against Levadiakos. On 6 March 2016, Swedish striker and fans of Panathinaikos' favorite Berg reached 100 official appearances with the Greek club at a home game against Atromitos. On 19 March 2016, he scored a brace against Iraklis for the Superleague. On 17 April 2016, in the last matchday for the 2015–16 season, Berg scored five times (23', 41', 45+2', 51', 62') in his team's 6–1 victory against Panthrakikos. On 18 August 2016, Berg was the scorer of two goals, helping Panathinaikos won his first leg of the UEFA Europa League play offs and is set to qualify for the group stage, as the Greens crushed Danish Brøndby IF 3–0 at Leoforos stadium.
On 6 September 2016, Berg stepped into retired Sweden national team captain Zlatan Ibrahimović's vacant boots to open the scoring in Stockholm just two minutes before the break against Netherlands, as he capitalised on Kevin Strootman's defensive mishap to smash in from outside the box into the top left corner. On 18 September 2016, he was the scorer of two goals, helping the club to achieve a 4–0 home win against PAS Giannina. It was his first goals for the 2016–17 season. On 23 September 2016, Berg extended his three-year contract for an annual fee of €1.1 million and with a €10 million release clause. Panathinaikos has 55% of Berg's rights, Hamburger SV has 45% and the rest 10% belongs to the player. On 19 January, was the scorer of two goals, helping the club, to achieve a 2–1 home win against Platanias, helping the club climbing in the third place of Superleague. On 30 January 2017, Panathinaikos announced the agreement for the extension of Berg’s contract till the summer of 2019. On 12 February 2017, he was the scorer of three goals in a Superleague 4–0 home win against Panetolikos. He was named MVP of the match. On 4 March 2017, with Swedish international striker grabbing a hat-trick (pen. 18', pen. 39', 41'), Panathinaikos won 5–0 against struggling Veria. He became the leading scorer of Superleague so far and named MVP of the march. On 11 March 2017, Panathinaikos striker scored his 24th goal into the season breaking his own record since he joined the Greens. The Swedish striker continues to be in great form as he scored once again in Panathinaikos's 1–1 Superleague draw with Iraklis. On 19 March 2017, Berg scored for the third time in his "green" career in the derby against Olympiacos in Panathinaikos's win with 1–0 at home. Berg scored twice on 2 April 2017 against AEK Athens in the away win 2–3 in the Athens derby. On 6 April 2017, Panathinaikos won 1–0 Panionios at Leoforos Stadium, thanks to a penalty kick by Berg.It was the fifth consecutive game that the Swedish international scored. On 30 April 2017, he scored his last goal for the season, in a 2–0 home win against AEL gaining the title of the 2016–17 League top scorer for first time in his Greek career.
On 18 May 2017, the Swedish striker will miss the remainder of Superleague play-offs because he will serve four-game suspension. The 31-year-old international and captain of the Greens showed unprofessional behavior on home clash against PAOK (1–0), which was finally interrupted by referee Giorgos Kominis at 55', and will not perform at the four remaining matches.
On 20 June 2017, the Administration of Panathinaikos rejected the first offer of Al Ain FC (€2.5–3 million) about the purchase of experienced Swedish striker. The Greens are holding the 55% of the rights of 31-year-old international (his former team, Hamburger SV, have the other 35%), whose current contract expires in the summer of 2019, with a buy-out clause of €5.2 million, but the negotiations with the UAE club are expected to be continued, while Berg has already agreed to sign a two(plus one) years' season contract with Al Ain, with an annual salary of €3 million after taxes.
On 28 June 2017, however, Al Ain FC confirmed the move was finalised following lengthy negotiations with Panathinaikos, with the figure believed to be around €3 million. Berg, has agreed to a two-year contract, although there exists an option to renew. He replaces in the squad Saudi Arabia striker Nasser Al-Shamrani. A statement from Panathinaikos read: "Unfortunately, Marcus Berg chose to leave Panathinaikos because he felt that at that time, close to the end of his career, he wanted to get a big financial benefit. There were some misunderstandings during the negotiations. We forget them, as Marcus has offered a lot to Panathinaikos. We wish him good luck in the step he chose and wait for him if he wishes to close his career in our club."
On 16 April 2018, following an incredible season in UAE Pro-League, Berg was twice on target as his club advanced to the last 16 stage of the AFC Champions League with an emphatic 4–1 rout of Qatar’s Al Rayyan SC. On 21 April 2018, Al Ain were crowned UAE Pro-League champions for the 13th time in their history thanks to a Marcus Berg’s hat-trick in an emphatic 4–0 win over Al-Nassr FC. On 29 April 2018, netting four goals in a glorious 5–0 home win game against Al Dhafra FC, helping his club to win the 2017–18 UAE Pro-League, being the top scorer of the League in his first season.
On 3 May 2018, he scored, making use of a cleverly executed volley pass by the mid-fielder Omar Abdulrahman, the second goal in a 2–1 as Al Ain outlasted Al-Wasl F.C., lifting UAE President's Cup to secure trophy double in UAE Pro-League club's 50th year.
On 18 December 2018, opened the score helping his club through to the Club World Cup final as they dumped Copa Libertadores winners River Plate out on penalties in the semi-finals, after a final 2-2 game.
Berg was first approached to the Sweden senior team in February 2008 where he was called for a friendly versus Turkey; he made his debut on that match by playing full-90 minutes as the friendly ended in a goalless draw. He was omitted from the team later in June of that year for the UEFA Euro 2008.
Berg was called-up regularly during Sweden's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. He scored his first goal for the team on 10 June 2009 in the 4–0 home win over Malta. He was on the scoresheet also in the final matchday against Albania, netting the second in an eventual 4–1 home win, which was not enough to secure Sweden a place at the tournament. With 2 goals, he was Sweden's joint second top goalscorer along with Zlatan Ibrahimović and behind Olof Mellberg.
Berg managed only two appearances at UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying, both of them as substitute, recording only 19 minutes on the field. He scored one goal, the last of the 6–0 home win over San Marino on 7 September 2010. Sweden finished Group E as runner-up which was enough for a place at final tournament, which Berg missed out.
At 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, Berg was part of the team only in the first Group C matches; he made only two appearances, both as replacement, netting only one time in the 2–0 home win over Kazakhstan on 11 September 2012. Sweden finished second in Group C which secured them a spot at second round where they were eliminated by Portugal 4–2 on aggregate.
Berg scored only two goals in the Group G of UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying; the first came on 14 June 2015 in form of an opener in the 3–1 win over Montenegro while the second came in the 0–2 win at Liechtenstein on 9 October of that year. At play-off round, Berg made two appearances as Sweden eliminated the rivals of Denmark 4–3 on aggregate to secure a spot at UEFA European Championship for the 5th consecutive edition.
On 11 May 2016, Berg was called by manager Erik Hamrén for the UEFA Euro 2016 which was his first major tournament. He started in the opening Group E match versus Republic of Ireland on 13 June, playing for 59 minutes as the match ended in a 1–1 draw. Berg also appeared in the remaining matches as Sweden lost to both Italy and Belgium which brought the elimination from the tournament.
Berg was Sweden's main striker during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification after the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimović. He scored his first goal in the qualifiers on 6 September 2016, the opener of the 1–1 home draw against Netherlands. On 7 October 2017, Berg scored four goals as Sweden ran riot in front of a record crowd of 50,022 at the Friends Arena, hammering Luxembourg 8–0, in their biggest win in 79 years, to make a great step to the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals. It was also his 50th international appearance. Sweden eventually finished Group A on second place with 19 points with Berg as top goalscorer with 8 goals. At second round, Sweden faced Italy and eliminated them 1–0, returning at the World Cup for the first time since 2006; Berg was distinguished for his defensive work rate in the second leg.
Style of playEdit
Berg is renowned for his heading ability, first touches, and being able to shoot and pass with both his right and left foot. He is also known for his tactical dribbles and scoring from unusual angles. Berg scored 15 goals in his first season in the Eredivisie, having only played 25 matches due to having a back-strain injury. In his second season for Groningen, he scored 13 goals in the first 15 matches and was by then the second highest goalscorer in the league. He also showed his scoring ability in the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, which he scored a record-breaking seven goals in four matches. His excellent performance earned him the player of the tournament award.
- As of 26 May 2019.
|Al Ain FC||2017–18||21||25||2||1||10||7||0||0||33||33|
- As of match played 7 October 2017. Sweden score listed first, score column indicates score after each Berg goal.
|1||10 June 2009||Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden||7||Malta||4–0||4–0||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|2||14 October 2009||Råsunda Stadium, Solna, Sweden||12||Albania||2–0||4–1|
|3||29 May 2010||13||Bosnia and Herzegovina||4–2||4–2||Friendly|
|4||7 September 2010||Swedbank Stadion, Malmö, Sweden||16||San Marino||6–0||6–0||UEFA Euro 2012 qualification|
|5||8 February 2011||GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus||19||Cyprus||2–0||2–0||Friendly|
|6||11 September 2012||Swedbank Stadion, Malmö, Sweden||22||Kazakhstan||2–0||2–0||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|7||31 March 2015||Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden||28||Iran||2–0||3–1||Friendly|
|8||14 June 2015||30||Montenegro||1–0||3–1||UEFA Euro 2016 qualification|
|9||9 October 2015||Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz, Liechtenstein||33||Liechtenstein||1–0||2–0|
|10||29 March 2016||Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden||37||Czech Republic||1–0||1–1||Friendly|
|11||6 September 2016||42||Netherlands||1–0||1–1||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|12||25 March 2017||46||Belarus||3–0||4–0|
|13||31 August 2017||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria||48||Bulgaria||2–2||2–3|
|14||3 September 2017||Borisov Arena, Barysaw, Belarus||49||Belarus||3–0||4–0|
|15||7 October 2017||Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden||50||Luxembourg||2–0||8–0|
|19||20 November 2018||Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden||67||Russia||2–0||2–0||2018–19 UEFA Nations League B|
Al Ain FC
- Allsvenskan top scorer: 2007 (shared with Razak Omotoyossi)
- UEFA European Under-21 Championship Golden Boot: 2009
- UEFA European Under-21 Championship Player of the Tournament: 2009
- Superleague Greece Foreign Footballer of the Year: 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17
- Superleague Greece top goalscorer: 2016–17 (22 goals)
- Greek Cup top goalscorer: 2013–14 (7 goals)
- UAE Pro-League top goalscorer: 2017–18 (25 goals)
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- Με τον Μπεργκ να δίνει απαντήσεις, 2–1 ο Παναθηναϊκός τον Πλατανιά Retrieved 19 January 2017.
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- ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΪΚΟΣ-ΠΑΝΙΩΝΙΟΣ 1–0: ΠΕΡΝΑΓΑΜΕ ΩΡΑΙΑ… (in Greek). Retrieved 6 April 2017.
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- Dom Farrell (10 November 2017). "'They lay down in every situation' – Sweden striker Berg says Italy tried to get him sent off". Goal.com. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
- "Sweden stand tall amid Italy onslaught to book place at Russia World Cup". The Guardian. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
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