Tore André Flo (born 15 June 1973) is a former Norwegian footballer, who retired from football at the age of 34. He used to play as a striker. His brothers Jostein Flo and Jarle Flo, and cousin Håvard Flo are also professional footballers. Tore André Flo is from the village of Flo in the municipality of Stryn in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
Flo started his career with his local amateur
club Stryn. In 1993, he moved to Sogndal
, playing with his brothers Jostein and Jarle. When Sogndal was relegated from the Norwegian Premier League
in 1994, Flo was transferred to Tromsø
In Tromsø, Flo became a success: he scored 18 goals in the 1995-season, and was the club's top goalscorer. His performances in that season culminated in Flo making his debut for the Norwegian national team.
Flo moved to Bergen in 1996 to play for Brann. He continued to play well, and scored 28 goals during his stay there. During his years in Brann, Flo arguably became one of Norway's best attackers.
In the first half of the 1997 season, however, he was not considered a great success by most of the Brann fans, perhaps because his mind was already in Chelsea, which he signed for under disputed circumstances. He did, however, score a hat-trick in his last game for Brann before leaving for Chelsea.
Flo was bought for the relatively small fee of £300
,000) by the English Premier League
in the summer of 1997. Flo would have become a Bosman player
at the end of the year, which influenced the small transfer fee. Everton
had made a bid of around tenfold, but then Everton manager Joe Royle
fell out with his boardroom over the proposed transfer and shortly afterwards resigned. Also, the leaders of economically struggling S.K. Brann
claimed to have a gentlemen's agreement
with Flo that he should not exploit his Bosman status in a transfer, although it is rare that exploiting one's Bosman status in this manner raises controversy in more recent times.
Flo made his debut for Chelsea against Coventry City, and scored in a 2-1 loss for his side. He scored 15 goals in his debut season for Chelsea, including a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane and two in a 6-2 win over Crystal Palace as Chelsea finished 4th in the FA Premier League and won the League Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup. Flo made a particularly important contribution in the latter tournament, hitting two away goals against Real Betis in the quarter-finals.
A year later, as Chelsea challenged for the title, Flo hit ten league goals, but constantly found his playing opportunities limited by manager Gianluca Vialli's squad rotation policy and the signing of Italian striker Pierluigi Casiraghi. The Blues eventually finished 3rd, high enough for their first ever UEFA Champions League qualification. Flo scored 19 goals in the 1999-00 season, making him Chelsea's top scorer and helping the club win the FA Cup and reach the Champions League quarter-finals, where he scored twice in a 3-1 win over FC Barcelona at Stamford Bridge. He scored another at the Camp Nou in the return game against Barca, though the team ultimately lost 5-1. By the start of the 2000-01 season, Chelsea had signed strikers Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eiður Guðjohnsen, again forcing Flo onto the substitutes' bench, and he requested a move away. He made 163 appearances for Chelsea (69 of which were as a substitute) and scored 50 goals.
In November 2000 Flo was sold to Scottish Premier League
team Rangers F.C.
, in a record £12 million deal ($21 million US dollars), making Flo the most expensive Norwegian player ever, the most expensive SPL signing ever and Chelsea's most expensive sale before the sale of Arjen Robben
Flo scored on his debut in a 5-1 thrashing of Rangers' arch rival Celtic, and hit 18 goals in 30 SPL games, but in general Flo was not considered a success in Scotland mainly due to the price tag and his goals to games ratio.
He was sold to Sunderland
on transfer deadline day
at the beginning of the 2002-03 season
. Flo's arrival was announced alongside fellow striker Marcus Stewart
, and the total cost of the transfers were declared as £10m. The individual prices were not made clear by Sunderland, although a figure of £8.2 million for Flo was widely quoted by the media. Sunderland have sinced confirmed that he was bought for £6.75 million, making him Sunderland's second most expensive purchase. Sunderland's manager Peter Reid
had been under-fire throughout pre-season for his failure to buy a big-name striker to replace Niall Quinn
. The relatively high price-tag for a player who was struggling in Scotland, and the late hour of his signing led many fans, and pundits including former legend Jimmy Montgomery
to believe that Flo was a deadline-day panic buy. Once again he scored in his debut match, a 1-1 draw with Manchester United
It was clear by Sunderland's tactics that Reid expected Flo to slot into the role of veteran Niall Quinn (who retired from playing in November) as a tall target-man for long-balls. It was not a role he was comfortable with, and he struggled to form a partnership with fellow striker Kevin Phillips. When Reid was sacked in October and replaced by Howard Wilkinson, Flo immediately fell out of favour - failing to make the bench for Wilkinson's first game - as Wilkinson publicly called into question the Norwegian's fitness. Flo managed to work his way back into the first-team until Wilkinson's dismissal in March. His successor, Mick McCarthy failed to give Flo 90 minutes of football in any of the remaining nine games of the season.
In 33 appearances for Sunderland Flo scored only 6 goals (4 of them in the Premiership) completing only 11 of the 23 league games he started. Sunderland were relegated to Division One, and with massive debts were forced to sell or release most players on high wages. Flo played one League Cup game in the 2003-04, but in the autumn of 2003 he was given a free transfer.
Flo then tried his luck in Italy
, joining newly-promoted Serie A
in 2003. Flo played for Siena for two seasons, becoming a success in Italian football
and helping the club establish themselves in the top division for the first time. He was ever-present and scored eight goals in 2003/04. He score five goals from 17 starts, and 5 appearances as substitute in 2004/5.
Return to Norway
Flo's wife and children found it difficult living in Southern Europe
, and wanted him to return to the United Kingdom
. Flo was close to signing for QPR
, but decided to go back to Norway.
Flo signed for the ambitious club Vålerenga from Oslo in July 2005. He was contracted to the club until the end of the 2006 season. His stay at Vålerenga was hampered by numerous injuries that prevented him of making a serious impact. Vålerenga did not offer him a new contract at the end of the season, leaving Flo free to sign with other clubs.
On 3 January 2007, Leeds United confirmed their signing of Flo, with a contract lasting till the end of the 2006-07 Championship season. The contract had the option of extending further into the future. He will be paid £6,000 per week, with a £1,000 bonus for every goal scored. It was manager Dennis Wise that was one of the main influences of attracting Flo to Leeds United as they were once team mates at Chelsea. Flo made his away debut as a substitute for the Yorkshire outfit in Leeds' 3-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup. A week later Flo scored his first goal for Leeds against the same opposition after 8 minutes with a towering header in a league match which ended in a 3-2 defeat. Subsequent injury prevented Flo from playing any significant part during the rest of the season. Flo was believed to be set to leave Leeds due to a clause in his contract, but Leeds have now signed Flo with an initial one year contract to help their 2007-08 League One campaign. He only managed to score a disappointing 3 times in the League during the season(2007-2008) all in sub appearances.. Flo was sponsored by famous Leeds fans the Kaiser Chiefs. Flo had previously admitted that Leeds would probably be his last club before retirement. He turned into somewhat of a fans favorite without playing that much for Leeds.
Norway national team
Flo made 76 appearances for the Norwegian national team
and made his debut in a 0-0 draw with England
. He scored 23 goals, making him Norway's joint-4th highest goalscorer, along with Ole Gunnar Solskjær
. He gained the nickname Flonaldo
(an obvious pun on Ronaldo
, one of the world's best strikers) when Norway beat Brazil
4-2 in a friendly match
. Flo played for Norway at the 1998 FIFA World Cup
, scoring a goal in a 2-1 win over holders Brazil as they reached the second round. Flo chose to retire from international football in 2004, deciding to prioritise his family.
On the 11 March 2008, Flo announced his retirement from football.