Lights, – the twist in Halldórsson’s life

Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldórsson’s former employer at Sagafilm, a production house on the Nordic island, reveals the other side of the custodian who quit his job for the beautiful game.

Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldórsson saves a penalty by Argentina's Lionel Messi in their opening match.   -  Getty Images

Footballers in Iceland have earned the sobriquet the ‘indoor kids’. They practise within domes as the average temperature, even in the warmest months, is around 10 degrees Celsius. It’s also dark – for up to 20 hours in December. Amid dusk, twilight and the Great Geysir, football is sunshine and Hannes Halldórsson embraced the beautiful game, quitting his job as a film-maker.

His choice of profession, as against usual perception, wasn’t an odd one. Heimir Hallgrímsson, Iceland’s football coach, is also a dentist. The country is renowned for its arts and entertainment, too. Heard of avant-garde rock act Sigur Rós?

But Halldórsson’s effort to deny Lionel Messi a penalty in Iceland’s opener against Argentina in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia made his earlier vocation look odd. The same person, who once hung out with heavy tripods and gadgets, jumped to his right to stop Messi’s spot kick – and became an Internet sensation in no time.

Sportstar got in touch with Halldórsson’s former employer, Sagafilm — based out of Kópavogur in Iceland — to learn more about Halldórsson, the multifaceted professional.

“He did a lot of commercials and music videos while he was at Sagafilm. His style as a director is very versatile. Hannes has excellent communication skills, is patient and won’t let go off projects until he is satisfied with them. One of his largest productions was the official music video for the 2012 Icelandic Eurovision song entry ‘Never forget’ by Gréta Salomé and Jónsi,” said Ragnar Agnarsson, one of the board members and a former chief executive of Sagafilm.

“Hannes was a fantastic employee, down to earth, humble and well liked among his co-workers. He worked with some of the largest companies and brands in Iceland since 2012,” he added.

Halldórsson, who joined Norwegian club Brann in 2012, earned a national call-up while he was establishing himself as a director. Sagafilm, aware of his love for football, backed him through thick and thin. “We knew of his passion as he was playing club football in Iceland. He’s always been very capable both as a goalie and a director, but he’s still growing in both professions,” said Agnarsson, who believes the penalty save may have increased his prospects in international football.

Hannes Halldórsson, who joined Norwegian club Brann in 2012, earned a national call-up while he was establishing himself as a director.   -  Sagafilm


Sagafilm has promised Halldórsson that he would be hired back once he is done with football. “Yes, that was the deal. We always knew of his interest of playing as a professional abroad. When he told us about the opportunity, we were very happy for him. We look at Hannes as our employee, and when his football career is done, we expect him back at Sagafilm to prolong his film career. Hannes is a great employee, generous and a great director who is going to shoot great films in the future,” said Agnarsson.

“...his save against Messi probably got him another few years as a professional goalkeeper and I would not be surprised if he would be signed with a bigger club after the World Cup, and we believe that the international star will grow and shine brighter,” he added.

On a Nordic island with a population of 334,000, stars, perhaps, are easy to spot.

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