Emil Forsberg To End Soccer Odyssey with New York Red Bulls

Lionel Messi might be the biggest star to leave a European club to end his career in MLS, but he is certainly not the last. Swedish superstar Emil Forsberg is making the journey as well. Forsberg left his longtime home RB Leipzig in December to join its sister club New York Red Bulls in MLS. With a Designated Player contract that runs through the 2026 season with an option for 2027, Forsberg is poised to spend the twilight of his career playing in MLS the way Messi and countless others have before him.


While Forsberg may not be on the same level as Messi, he’s not just another signing for the Red Bulls. In fact, longtime NYRB star Bradley Wright-Phillips, the club’s all-time leading scorer, called Forsberg the biggest signing the New York Red Bulls have made since Thierry Henry. That’s a bold statement, but it’s a justified one. Forsberg has had an amazing career at club level and internationally and still has a lot to offer his new club.


Forsberg truly has one of the great footballing journeys of any player of his generation. He got his start in football when he was still a teenager with his hometown club GIF Sundsvall. At the time, the club was playing in the second division in Sweden. But Forsberg helped the club gain promotion for a year. He soon moved to Swedish giant Malmö. During a short stint with Malmö, Forsberg helped the club to win two Swedish league titles and qualify for Champions League, giving Forsberg his first taste of the European spotlight.


In January 2015, Forsberg’s exploits in his homeland were enough to warrant attention from bigger European clubs, resulting in his transfer to RB Leipzig. At the time, Leipzig was still in its infancy as a club and wasn’t the perennial Champions League participant it is today. They were participating in the second division in Germany when Forsberg joined the club. The Swedish playmaker quickly became a core part of the club and a huge influence in its rise to the top. 


During his first full season at RB Leipzig, Forsberg was named the best player in 2. Bundesliga while helping RB Leipzig gain promotion to the Bundesliga. The following season, Forsberg led the Bundesliga in assists during his first year in one of Europe’s best leagues. He teamed up with Timo Werner and others to lead Leipzig to a second-place finish and a Champions League spot during the club’s inaugural season in Germany’s top flight.


While rarely a high-volume scorer, Forsberg continued to play the role of playmaker for RB Leipzig over the next several seasons. He was a key part of the club finishing in the top four of the Bundesliga every year from 2019 to 2023 and was one of the Bundesliga’s top playmakers and assist leaders during that stretch. Forsberg was also around for Leipzig’s memorable run to the Champions League semifinals in 2020. 


At the same time, Forsberg was making a name for himself on the international stage. During the Round of 16 of the 2018 World Cup, he scored one of the biggest goals of his life, netting the game-winner against Switzerland to send Sweden to the quarterfinals. At the Euros in 2021, Forsberg scored four goals in four games. To date, Forsberg has 21 international goals in 86 career caps for Sweden, making him arguably the best Swedish player of the 21st century this side of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 


More importantly for New York Red Bulls fans, Forsberg isn’t done yet. He was still making regular appearances with RB Leipzig during the first half of the current campaign. Forsberg even scored in two of his final three games before leaving Leipzig, including the final Champions League game of his career. The Swede has also made it clear that he’s not in New York to retire; he intends to help the Red Bulls win. 


“I’m here to win with the guys and take us forward. That’s the mentality we’ve got to have every day, even in training,” Forsberg said when he was introduced as a new NYRB player. “I’m very, very motivated, hungry to win. That’s what made me come. I think we can achieve some fantastic things here.”


Will the Red Bulls be a good bet to win MLS Cup in 2024 with Forsberg aboard? Before making that decision, fans should explore NY sports betting sites to find out the different promos and features of each one. After that, you can consider whether the Red Bulls are worth it or not.


Either way, Forsberg’s arrival with the Red Bulls is a big deal. He’s come a long way since the start of his career in his native Sweden. He’s also elevated the performance of his team at every stop. That’s why Forsberg’s soccer odyssey has been so fascinating to watch and why fans should be excited to witness his final chapter with the New York Red Bulls.