Caroline Graham Hansen – The playmaking Genius

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Caroline Graham Hansen's portrait in Barcelona's official kit.

Caroline Graham Hansen was born on 18 February 1995. She is a Norwegian footballer who plays as a winger for Norway women’s national team and the Primera División club FC Barcelona. She is from Oslo, Norway. She also started playing here. She is considered as a playmaking genius and is considered to be one of the best players in the world right now.

Caroline’s early life

Her father used to race his children, doing so backwards to show even then he was faster. As a result, his children ended up being very competitive from a very young age. She used to fight with her sibling to win, even now she has a natural temperament, but it’s because she wants to win very badly. Caroline used to be a quiet child; she loved science and used to play in chess competitions between the age of six and eight. But ever since then she was very determined and stubborn. Her parents had enrolled her and her brother to NTG-U Bærum, it a private sports secondary school near the Oslofjord that comprises of about 270 pupils at a time training for elite sports. The teachers were also the sports coaches, and the students trained her at least 90 minutes each day.

CGH with bro
Caroline Graham Hansen’s childhood picture with her younger brother.

As a girl, Caroline was told that she wouldn’t be able to live from football. According to her, adults try to say to children to choose the right way, for them the right way was what was normal for them when they were growing up, but things are continuously changing, and things do not remain the same. It was her goal to prove them wrong; she wanted to show everyone that she could live from football.

International career

In 2011, Hansen, a 16-year-old from Norway, was selected in the under-19 team, they finished the final against Germany as runner-ups at the 2011 UEFA Women’s U–19 Championship. Hansen also was a member of the Norwegian team in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Japan, where the team reached the quarterfinals.  In November 2011, she earned her senior debut against Belgium in Norway. In June 2012, she played in an 11-0 round in which she assisted more than half of Norway’s goals, Hansen also scored her first international Senior goal in this game.

Veteran coach, Even Pellerud, named Hansen in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 squad in Norway. At the final in the Friends Arena, she was awarded a 61st-minute penalty following a foul drawn from Saskia Bartusiak; however, Germany’s goalkeeper Nadine Angerer saved the second penalty to secure the game. Hansen and her friend and fellow teammate Ada Hegerberg were the leading players of the Norwegian team. However, the Germans were granted a sixth consecutive title by Anja Mittag’s goal.

After she failed to recover from a significant knee injury on time for the tournament, she was omitted from the FIFA World Cup 2015. Hansen had been named to the team during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017. In the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup it was announced that she would represent Norway. She helped the team reach the quarterfinals where they were knocked out of the tournament by England.

Caroline Graham Hansen with the Norwegian National Team.

The Goal named her the 6th best player of 2020; she is joined by her Barça teammates Asisat Oshoala (24), Jennifer Hermoso (22), and Alexia Putellas (16). Hansen is among the 11 players shortlisted for FIFA The Best 2020 awards, along with teammate Jennifer Hermoso. The Femeni coach Lluís Cortés is also among the seven coaches selected for the coveted award. She was nominated for the award in 2019 as well.

Caroline Graham Hansen’s club career:

Hansen started playing in Lyn and played for Lyn till the age of 15. She was also a part of the team that won the under-16 girls’ class in the Norway Cup. In August 2010, she went to Stabæk and made her debut in Toppserien the same week as she made a 73rd-minute substitution against FK Donn. More famously she was a part of Stabæk’s 2011 Norwegian Women’s Cup-winning team, who beat Røa on penalties.

In 2013 she joined Swedish Damallsvenskan champions Tyresö FF. She has aided Tyresö to qualify for the 2013–14 UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinals. She went back to Stabæk in January 2014 to complete her high school education. She continued to be observed by numerous leading European women’s clubs and intended to move away again after finishing her high school in June 2014. She realized that female footballers do not earn enough money to retire on, so she was preparing for her career after her retirement from football. At Stabæk she started playing Toppserien matches for the women’s team while training with the male youth teams. She was among the best teen football talents in Norway.

Her sensational move to Stabæk  was very exciting for the locals and as mentioned before she was given unprecedented permission to train with the club’s boys, who famously said: “Ah – the women’s football Messi is coming to train with us.”

In 2014, the German super club VfL Wolfsburg announced that they had signed a two-year contract with Hansen. Many media outlets said her salary was around £100,000. With Wolfsburg, she managed to reach the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final twice in 2016 and 2018, both of which they lost to the mighty Lyon. In the subsequent 2016–17 and 2018–19 seasons, Wolfsburg was defeated in the quarterfinals against a familiar rival – Lyon. Over the years, the situation of women’s teams has improved with the professionalization of the women’s teams and leagues across the world. Unlike before, women now get a professional contract and have lucrative sponsorship deals.

Caroline Graham Hansen with her teammates after winning the league with VFL Wolfsburg.

A dream move to Barcelona

In five seasons playing in Germany, Caroline Graham Hansen stood out for her strength, technique, difference-making, and field vision. She led the Bundesliga in assists. Despite her young age, she gained experience at Wolfsburg by winning three league titles, five Cups, and playing in two Champions League finals (2016 and 2018). She formed along with Denmark’s Pernille Harder and Poland’s Ewa Pajor one of the most dangerous triple threats in Europe.

Caroline Graham Hansen
Caroline Graham Hansen signing her contract with Barca Femeni.

In May 2019, it was publicized that Hansen had signed with FC Barcelona on a two-year contract. Caroline Graham Hansen’s transfer from Wolfsburg to Barcelona was one of the most highly rated transfers of the season. The Blaugrana’s managed to snatch up one of the best dribblers in women’s football.

Her first title with the club was the Copa Cataluña. On 10 February 2020, Hansen’s team beat Real Sociedad by 10-1 to achieve the Supercopa de España title. In the first week of May 2020, the Royal Spanish Football Federation announced the premature end of the league, naming Barcelona as league champions. Barcelona were clear champions and they had not lost a match in the league. Caroline Graham Hansen along with teammates, Jenni, Mapi, Marta, Alexia, Asisat, Kheira, and Sandra are chosen in the Team Of The Season for the 2019/20 Champions League. Barça, along with fellow semifinalists PSG, were the side with the third most representatives in the Team Of The Season.

Caroline Graham Hansen
Caroline Graham Hansen with the La Liga Trophy after winning it with Barcelona.

She has over 16 major honours in three different countries. She has been a runner up at the Women’s Champions League twice in the last five years. In her interview with GOAL, she said: “I think everybody wants to win the Champions League, Of course, it sucks to be on the losing side, but that’s sport. That’s football. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I can’t do anything about it. I enjoy playing the tournament, and I am calm about the fact that I will hopefully get another possibility to play a final and another possibility to win it. I get a positive motivation from picturing myself maybe one day winning it. That’s a good motivation to have.”

The 2020 season so far has been pretty successful for her. She has scored three goals and has assisted her teammates six times. She has been one of the best playmakers in the world this season. Whenever she has the ball, it’s hard to take it off her. She has what it takes to change the game within minutes.

She is quite happy to be with Barça, upon joining the club she said, “It’s a great club that has done a lot of good work in recent years. I wanted to come and join in; it was a simple decision. I want to contribute to Barcelona, establishing itself among the elite of European clubs. I’ll give it my all to do that and to win titles.” 

She likes to go to Andrea Bocelli’s music concerts. She also likes to writes poetry; according to her, she can write anything about life to something funny or sad.  She is also an avid reader. Her favourite novel is the Summer Light, and Then Comes the Night, it is a novel about a remote Icelandic town in the 1990s that is written in run-on-sentences. She says that it may be the most beautiful book she has ever read.

Caroline Graham Hansen
Caroline Graham Hansen in the NT jersey.

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