Do you remember Fredrik Gulbrandsen? Sure, you do. The Norwegian attacker joined New York Red Bulls on a season-long loan from Salzburg in 2017. He made little impact in 12 appearances and returned to Austria after 89 days, where he proceeded to score 28 goals over the next two years. As far as synergy loans go for Red Bulls, it’s probably one of the better ones.
But that’s not what makes him special. No, no, no. What makes Gulbrandsen notable is a certain part of his body that impresses even the most experienced of doctors.
According to Red Bull Salzburg team physician Dr Jürgen Herfert, Gulbrandsen has the monstrous calves of a superhero who spent the last decade walking in high heels. “Gulbrandsen had the tightest calves,” Herfert waxed nostalgically to Spox.
His lower leg fibrous tissues were so enormously strong, that they pushed modern mechanical science to its limits. “The sockets were so tight [on the equipment] that he always had to carry them down.”
You may be wondering why this randomly came up in conversation. Spox produces dozens of stories about Red Bull Salzburg every week, so eventually a recording device finds its way in front of every team employee and things tend to go from there. And in this case, “there” is a conversation about the sporting challenges presented by COVID-19 that went straight to the bottom… of the leg.
Sadly for Dr. Herfert, Gulbrandsen and his marvelous mounds of muscle are no longer in Austria, but the memory remains. Last summer, the Lillestrøm native transferred to emerging super club İstanbul Başakşehir. He’s been a regular fixture in the starting lineup, featuring heavily during the ongoing run to the Europa League Round of 16.
One might find it a complete coincidence that Gulbrandsen left Salzburg in the same off-season that the manager of the 2017 New York Red Bulls arrived in Austria. While he did leave on a free transfer, it’s not likely that Jesse Marsch was the one who sent him packing. After all, if anyone is going to appreciate a nice pair of calves, it’s a manager who was born in the dairy paradise of Wisconsin.
But no matter how far Fredrik Gulbrandsen travels, no matter where he plays, sometimes Dr. Jürgen Herfert will look up at the moon and hope that those brawny bundles of back leg joy are looking at that same moon too.