Thomas Christiansen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas Christiansen
Personal information
Full name Thomas Christiansen Tarín[1]
Date of birth (1973-03-11) 11 March 1973 (age 50)[1]
Place of birth Hadsund, Denmark
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Position(s) Striker
Team information
Current team
Panama (manager)
Youth career
1982–1988 Avedøre
1988 Brøndby
1989–1991 Hvidovre
1991 B.93
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1996 Barcelona B 60 (28)
1993–1996 Barcelona 0 (0)
1993Sporting Gijón (loan) 10 (4)
1993–1994Osasuna (loan) 14 (1)
1994–1995Racing Santander (loan) 15 (1)
1996–1997 Oviedo 50 (5)
1997–1999 Villarreal 41 (6)
1999 Terrassa 17 (5)
2000 Panionios 12 (3)
2000 Herfølge 4 (2)
2001–2003 VfL Bochum 76 (38)
2003–2006 Hannover 96 55 (12)
Total 354 (105)
International career
1992–1995 Spain U21 11 (3)
1993 Spain 2 (1)
Managerial career
2013 Al Jazira (assistant)
2014–2016 AEK Larnaca
2016–2017 APOEL
2017–2018 Leeds United
2019–2020 Union SG
2020– Panama
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Thomas Christiansen Tarín[2] (born 11 March 1973) is a former footballer who played as a striker, currently manager of Panama.

Left-footed, he played for a number of clubs in Danish, Spanish and German football over a 15-year professional career, being crowned the top goalscorer of the 2002–03 Bundesliga whilst with Bochum. Born in Denmark, he represented the Spain national team.

In 2013, Christiansen started working as a manager.

Playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Born in Hadsund in Denmark to a Spanish mother, Christiansen was raised in Copenhagen.[3][4][5] He started playing football aged nine in Avedøre IF, then spent one year at Brøndby IF before moving on to Hvidovre IF.

Christiansen trained with the youth team of Real Madrid, but when his mother forbade him to join the club, he moved to Boldklubben af 1893.[3] In May 1991 he scored six goals in a youth team match against Kjøbenhavns Boldklub, and went back to Spain to train with defending La Liga champions FC Barcelona.[6]


Christiansen signed a four-year contract with Barcelona in July 1991, when Johan Cruyff was team manager, with a dream of playing alongside their Danish playmaker Michael Laudrup.[7] He started competing as a senior with the reserves,[8] where he soon was joined by compatriot Ronnie Ekelund; during this period, he was frequently called up to train with the main squad, but received almost no playing time due to stiff competition.[9]

When he joined Barcelona, Christiansen agreed to a clause in his contract that stated he would be a Spanish citizen, and thereby not count towards the foreigner quota in the league. After becoming naturalised, he was called up for the under-21 team in December 1992,[10] and scored a goal to help defeat Germany 2–1.[11]

Still playing for Barcelona's B team, Christiansen was called up for the Spanish senior squad by manager Javier Clemente, in January 1993, making his debut against Mexico on the 27th and impressing in a game which featured few regulars for the European nation.[12] He prolonged his link with the Catalans until 1997, and made his official debut for the club when he played the last seven minutes of the UEFA Super Cup final – first leg – away to SV Werder Bremen.[13][14] He appeared in his first competitive match in a Copa del Rey contest against Atlético Madrid, and was once more selected to the national team, appearing as a substitute in a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Lithuania and scoring with a flick of the heel in an eventual 5–0 home win.[15]

Without having played any league games for Barcelona, Christiansen was put on loan at fellow league club Sporting de Gijón, in February 1993. He was mostly injured during that stint, but managed four league goals, subsequently returning to the Camp Nou where he suffered another injury during pre-season;[16] other loans followed, first at CA Osasuna then at Racing de Santander in the 1994–95 season, starting well enough at the latter to earn another call-up by Spain, only to pull out due to injury.

Mixed success[edit]

Spanish league regulations stated that following three years of loan contracts, Barcelona had to compensate Christiansen financially, if they declined any proposed transfer deal. He was first sold to English club Manchester City in October 1995, but wanted to stay in Spain, being instead transferred to Real Oviedo the next January for DKK 4.6 million.[17] Following a good start, he failed to score any goals in his second year even though he appeared in 31 matches, and was sold to Segunda División's Villarreal CF in November 1997, helping them promote but managing to find the net only once the following campaign, which ended in relegation.

A proposed deal with a Mexican team never materialised, and Christiansen was without a club in 1999. He went on to play for Terrassa FC in the Spanish lower leagues,[18] finishing that season at Panionios F.C. in Greece before returning to Denmark in August 2000, signing with defending Danish champions Herfølge BK, and showing good form when he scored two goals in a win over eventual runners-up Brøndby.

Breakthrough in Germany[edit]

In January 2001, Christiansen moved to Germany to play for VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga, being relegated to the second division (as with Herfølge) but contributing 17 goals the following season to be the North Rhine-Westphalia's team top scorer as they won promotion; he added 21 in next year's top flight, being crowned joint league top scorer with Giovane Élber of FC Bayern Munich.[19][20]

Following that achievement, Christiansen was signed by Hannover 96 in June 2003 to replace Fredi Bobic.[21] He scored nine times in his first year, but failed to reproduce his previous form mainly due to several injuries, including a knee operation and two shinbone ailments; in the summer of 2006, the club chose not to prolong his contract and he left, retiring shortly after at the age of 33.

International goal[edit]

Score and result list Spain's goal tally first, score column indicates score after Christiansen goal.
International goal scored by Thomas Christiansen
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 24 February 1993 Benito Villamarín, Seville, Spain  Lithuania 4–0 5–0 1994 World Cup qualification[15]

Coaching career[edit]

Early spells and AEK[edit]

Christiansen started his managerial career in the United Arab Emirates, as part of Luis Milla's coaching staff at Al Jazira Club, arriving in February 2013 and leaving in October as the latter was fired. In late April 2014 he was appointed head coach of AEK Larnaca FC in the Cypriot First Division, after having been approached for the job by former Barcelona B teammate Xavier Roca, who acted as director of football;[22] in his first two seasons, he led them to consecutive best-ever runner-up league finishes.[23][24][25]

Also during the 2015–16 campaign, Christiansen coached his team to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, losing 4–0 on aggregate to FC Girondins de Bordeaux.[26]


On 21 May 2016, after two successful seasons, Christiansen moved to reigning Cypriot champions APOEL FC, signing a one-year contract effective as of 1 June.[27] On 2 August, they knocked out Rosenborg BK 4–1 on aggregate in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League,[28] being ousted the following round by F.C. Copenhagen[29] and eventually reaching the last-16 stage in the Europa League for the first time in their history.[30][31]

Christiansen won his first managerial title in 2017 after conquering the Cypriot League, losing only two games during the season and having the best defensive record with 27 clean sheets.[32][33] He also reached the final of the domestic cup, lost 1–0 to Apollon Limassol;[34] on 25 May a meeting between club and coach was held, and subsequently both decided to part ways.[35]

Leeds United[edit]

On 15 June 2017, Christiansen was announced as the new head coach of Championship club Leeds United,[36] after being appointed by new owner Andrea Radrizzani to replace Garry Monk, with the club announcing that they wanted "to appoint someone who can help us create a winning culture at the club and unite everyone connected with Leeds United, from the players to the supporters".[23][33][37] Four days later, it was revealed that he would be joined by assistant Julio Bañuelos, fitness coach Iván Torres and goalkeeper coach Marcos Abad.[38]

Christiansen was dismissed on 4 February 2018, after a poor run of results and with the team tenth in the table.[39]

Union SG[edit]

On 1 July 2019, Christiansen was appointed at Belgian First Division B's Union SG.[40] He was released in May 2020.[41]


Christiansen was named new manager of the Panama national team on 23 July 2020, replacing Américo Gallego who was released amid a restructuring of the Panamanian Football Federation.[42][43] His first games were friendlies away to neighbours Costa Rica on 10 and 13 October, both won by a single Abdiel Ayarza goal.[44]

At the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Christiansen's team were eliminated from the group stage after failing to beat Qatar and Honduras.[45] The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign was ended by a 5–1 defeat to the United States in Orlando in the penultimate fixture.[46]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 28 March 2023
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
P W D L Win %
AEK Larnaca 1 June 2014 29 April 2016 68 40 14 14 058.8 [47]
APOEL 1 June 2016 31 May 2017 52 31 10 11 059.6 [48]
Leeds United 15 June 2017 4 February 2018 35 15 6 14 042.9 [48]
Union Saint-Gilloise 1 July 2019 22 May 2020 31 13 12 6 041.9 [47]
Panama 22 July 2020 Present 40 18 10 12 045.0 [47]
Total 226 117 52 57 051.8




Spain U21




See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Thomas Christiansen at
  2. ^ Danish pronunciation: [ˈtsʰʌmæs kʰʁeˈstjænˀsn̩], Spanish: [taˈɾin]
  3. ^ a b Uno, Steen (4 July 1991). "Cruyffs nye stjerneskud Thomas fra Hvidovre" [Cruyff's newest star from Hvidovre]. BT (in Danish).
  4. ^ "Football: Top to Bochum; Dane from Spain Thomas gives new boys dream start". The Free Library. 26 August 2002. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  5. ^ "AEK Larnaca make sixth signing". Parikiaki. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  6. ^ Kristensen, Jens-Carl (30 June 1991). "Pingel bliver den næste" [Pingel will be the next]. Berlingske (in Danish).
  7. ^ "Drømmen er at spille med Laudrup" [Dream of playing with Laudrup]. Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). 31 July 1991.
  8. ^ "Jonathan Soriano se convierte en el máximo goleador de la historia del filial" [Jonathan Soriano becomes the highest goalscorer in the history of the reserves]. La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 2 March 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Thomas Christiansen, entre contrastes y azares" [Thomas Christiansen, between contrasts and jinxes] (in Spanish). Sphera Sports. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  10. ^ Madsen, Peter Juul (14 December 1992). "Thomas på spansk landshold" [Thomas with Spanish national team]. BT (in Danish).
  11. ^ "Los sub-21 de Goikoetxea ganan a Alemania por 1–2" [Goikoetxea's under-21 defeat Germany 1–2]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 16 December 1992. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  12. ^ Román, Rogelio (28 January 1993). "Más joven, pero igual de gris" [Younger, but just as grey]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  13. ^ a b Galindo, Jesús (11 February 1993). "El Barça encarrila otro euro-título" [Barça all but win another euro-title]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  14. ^ Galindo, Jesús (11 February 1993). "Christiansen: "Al fin he cumplido mi gran sueño"" [Christiansen: "Finally my big dream has come true"]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  15. ^ a b Sanchis, Alberto (25 February 1993). "La selección repite otro 5–0 en Sevilla" [The national team repeat another 5–0 in Seville]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  16. ^ Ahlstrøm, Frits (30 October 1994). "Jeg vil spille for Cruyff" [I want to play for Cruyff]. Ekstra Bladet (in Danish).
  17. ^ Pihl, Jørgen (7 January 1996). "Oviedo scorer mål- sluger". BT (in Danish).
  18. ^ "En stjerne i mørket" [A star in the dark] (in Danish). Aktuelt. 30 October 1999.
  19. ^ a b "Aubameyang ist Torschützenkönig 2017" [Aubameyang is 2017 top scorer] (in German). Spox. 20 May 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  20. ^ Arnhold, Matthias. "Thomas CHRISTIANSEN Tarín – Matches and Goals in Bundesliga". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  21. ^ "Hannover 96: Christiansen ersetzt Bobic" [Hannover 96: Christiansen replaces Bobic]. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 6 June 2003. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  22. ^ "Συμβόλαιο συνεργασίας με Thomas Christiansen" [Cooperation contract with Thomas Christiansen] (in Greek). AEK Larnaca. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ a b "Head coach appointed". Leeds United F.C. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  24. ^ "ΑΠΟΕΛ – ΑΕΚ 1–1 (video)" [ΑPΟΕL – ΑΕΚ 1–1 (video)] (in Greek). Cyprus Football Association. 16 May 2015. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  25. ^ Η τελική κατάταξη [The final ranking] (in Greek). Cyprus Football Association. 24 May 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  26. ^ "Ligue Europa. Très efficace, Bordeaux se qualifie pour les barrages" [Europa League. Quite effective, Bordeaux qualify to playoffs]. Ouest-France (in French). 6 August 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  27. ^ "Σύναψη συμφωνίας με τον προπονητή Thomas Christiansen" [Agreement with coach Thomas Christiansen] (in Greek). APOEL FC. 21 May 2016. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  28. ^ "APOEL 3–0 Rosenborg". UEFA. 2 August 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  29. ^ "Champions League play-off draw made". UEFA. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  30. ^ "UEFA Europa League round of 32 draw". UEFA. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  31. ^ "Gladbach, Anderlecht, Celta and Lyon take headlines". UEFA. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  32. ^ a b Constantinou, Iacovos (13 May 2017). "Apoel seal title after win over arch-rivals Omonia". Cyprus Mail. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  33. ^ a b "Thomas Christiansen: New Leeds United head coach's managerial career in focus". Yorkshire Evening Post. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  34. ^ a b Vou, Andreas (24 May 2017). "Ten-man Apollon defeat Apoel to win Cyprus Cup". Cyprus Mail. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  35. ^ "Μη ανανέωση συνεργασίας με Thomas Christiansen" [Partnership with Thomas Christiansen not renewed] (in Greek). APOEL FC. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  36. ^ "Thomas Christiansen: Leeds United name ex-Spain international as head coach". BBC Sport. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  37. ^ "Leeds United: Unknown Dane Christiansen get Radrizzani's blessing". Yorkshire Evening Post. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  38. ^ "Thomas Christiansen | The first press conference". Leeds United F.C. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  39. ^ "Leeds dismiss manager Thomas Christiansen after eight months". BBC Sport. 4 February 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  40. ^ "Thomas Christiansen is de nieuwe trainer van Union Sint-Gillis: "Blij dat we iemand met zo'n cv konden aanwerven"" [Thomas Christiansen is the new manager of Union Sint-Gillis: "Glad we could recruit someone with such a résumé"]. Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). 1 July 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  41. ^ "Thomas Christiansen: Fin de la collaboration" [Thomas Christiansen: End of cooperation.] (in French). Royale Union Saint-Gilloise. May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  42. ^ Archs, Jordi (23 July 2020). "Thomas Christiansen, nuevo seleccionador de Panamá" [Thomas Christiansen, new Panama national team manager]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Ex-Spain forward Christiansen takes charge of Panama". Qatar News. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  44. ^ "Thomas Christiansen y su retorno a Costa Rica, donde todo comenzó" [Thomas Christiansen and his return to Costa Rica, where it all began] (in Spanish). RPC. 26 January 2022. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  45. ^ Liljenwall, Ari (21 July 2021). "Recap: Panama 3, Grenada 1". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  46. ^ "Las lágrimas de Thomas Christiansen tras la eliminación de Panamá del Mundial de Qatar 2022" [Thomas Christiansen's tears after Panama's elimination from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar]. La Prensa (in Spanish). 27 March 2022. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  47. ^ a b c Thomas Christiansen at Soccerway
  48. ^ a b "Managers: Thomas Christiansen". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  49. ^ Aguilar, Francesc (16 April 1994). "España pierde la inocencia" [Spain lose innocence]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 June 2017.

External links[edit]