A year ago, most people likely did not know the name Teemu Pukki. Now however, he has amassed a much larger following, especially in his home country of Finland. As his club, Norwich City, put it, “Teemu Pukki has become something of a household name among Premier League pundits and spectators, thanks to an outstanding start to his 2019-20 campaign”. The 30-year-old Finnish forward has been instrumental in helping both his club team, Norwich City, and his national team, Finland, achieve success.
Pukki started his professional football career at his hometown club, FC KooTeePee (KTP), playing for the U-19 side and making his first team debut at 16 years old. He then transferred to Sevilla FC in Spain, but ended up not seeing much playtime, and spent most of his time playing for Sevilla’s reserve team. In 2010, Pukki transferred back to Finland, signing a contract with Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (HJK Helsinki for short). He ended up being a key figure in HJK’s 2011 qualification campaigns for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, but after scoring three goals in two games against FC Schalke 04 in August 2011, Pukki wound up signing a three-year contract with the German club later that same month. He didn’t make too large of an impact at Schalke, and so transferred out in 2013 to join Celtic F.C. in Scotland. Once again, he struggled to find his place and excel as he encountered difficulty adjusting to the speed and physical nature of the game in Scotland. In 2014, Pukki joined the Danish team, Brøndby IF, where he finished his first season as the team’s top scorer. After scoring 72 goals in 164 games, Pukki caught the attention of Norwich City, and joined the English team on June 30, 2018, and has been there ever since.
Now in England, Pukki seems to have hit his stride. In his first season with Norwich, Pukki was named the EFL Championship Player of the Season and won the Top Scorer of the league after scoring 29 goals in the 18/19 season. Following the promotion of Norwich City to the Premier League for the 19/20 season, Pukki came out the gate running as he scored five goals in his opening four PL games. Since then, he won the Premier League Player of the Month for August, and had scored 11 goals before the season was postponed early due to coronavirus. Pukki was also instrumental in helping the Finland National Football Team qualify for the Euro 2020 for the first time in the country’s history. Pukki scored 10 of Finland’s 16 goals in the qualifiers—the fourth highest amount by a single goalscorer, behind only Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Eran Zahavi. All of this led to Pukki winning Finland’s Athlete of the Year award for 2019, edging out other top athletes like Lukáś Hrádecký and Valtteri Bottas.
Regardless of whether you are rooting for Finland in the upcoming Euro Cup, Teemu Pukki will definitely be one of the key players to watch out for as he tries to bring success to the Finnish team.