Rasmus Kristensen only entered my consciousness as an actual footballer who exists a couple of weeks ago, but I have already seen enough of him to convince me he is destined to be a Leeds United cult hero. It’s not so much the footage of him bombing forward from right-back and scoring goals (although that is good), or that he reminds me of Carl Dickinson (that is also good); it’s who Kristensen is off the pitch that has given me so much faith.
Once you’ve seen the highlights compilations and stats graphics, it’s worth watching the series of YouTube videos published by the Salzburg franchise featuring Kristensen in what are meant to be light-hearted games with teammates. Even when playing ‘Match Me If You Can’ with Max Wober, Rasmus has no time for bullshit. Asked who picks up the bill in a restaurant more often, Kristensen says it’s impossible to answer because they always play rock, paper, scissors to decide. Sometimes whoever is not driving has to pay. Kristensen says this as if the interviewer should know, moving on with a succinct, “Shit question.”
It’s good to learn that he already has things to look forward to in Leeds. Wober suggests if Kristensen wasn’t a footballer, he could be a pro darts player, prompting both to start singing, ‘Stand up if you love the darts.’ I can’t wait to see him dressed as a traffic cone whenever Premier League darts comes to Leeds Arena in 2023, holding up a sign he’s written ‘Bates Out’ on.
I do have some concerns about his lifestyle. Answering, ‘Who is more likely to become a vegetarian?’ Rasmus gets annoyed at Wober for choosing him. “You know I am not eating vegetables — at all,” he says. “I am not eating fruit, I am not eating vegetables.” Then he calls Wober “stupid”. But not eating fruit or veg doesn’t sound too clever.
Still, that’s not going to affect Kristensen’s self-confidence. They both said the same answers to nine out of twelve questions, but Rasmus quickly dismisses the “shit” question, gives himself a bonus point for doing so, then insists they got another question right, taking his score to eleven out of eleven. Nobody argues.
In another video Kristensen wipes the floor with Benjamin Sesko, winning the ‘Five-Second Challenge’ 6-3. The aim of the game is to name three things that fit a certain category in the allotted time. Sesko is pathetic to be honest. He fails to name three types of pasta, mountains, Austrian states, or athletes who aren’t footballers. He also panics when asked for three things he couldn’t live without, saying “hygiene” as his final answer. Rasmus isn’t afraid to laugh in his teammate’s face, but lets himself down when, sitting on a red chair, wearing a red Salzburg shirt, next to a red buzzer, he can’t name three things that are red. Unusually for someone who doesn’t eat fruit or veg, he says apples (he also answers oranges for things that are round) and “the sun”, although a mental block when it comes to the colour red should go down well in Leeds.
If you think Leeds have signed Kristensen to look after Brenden Aaronson, think again. At the end of the video Sesko directs the question of what makes him mad back at Rasmus. “Easy,” he says, immediately namechecking Brenden.
Which brings us onto the golden boy himself. There are a couple of videos of Kristensen and Aaronson competing against each other. Rather than a Red Bull equivalent to Rod and Ray Wallace, Kristensen isn’t there to look after Aaronson, he’s there to put him straight. They’re more reminiscent of Charlie Cresswell bullying Joffy Gelhardt into agreeing with him. Aaronson even changes one of his own answers so it’s the same as Kristensen’s.
Aaronson shares Sesko’s tendency for a brain freeze. Trying to guess how many words are in the Mariah Carey song ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ sends Brenden quiet. After a few seconds, he speaks. “This is kind of like a math problem here.” Later he has to ask Kristensen, “What’s really big in metres?” while trying to guess the size of the longest ever gingerbread in the world. “1,000 metres,” offers Rasmus. Aaronson replies,“That’s like a big building, right?”
Kristensen really shines playing ‘Would You Rather?’ with Aaronson. Here we learn the true essence of a man who is more than comfortable in his own skin. He would rather teleport than read minds; the latter would be “too stressful”, because he doesn’t care what other people think of him. He would rather own a snake than a spider, because snakes are “cooler”. Unlike Aaronson, who is too self-conscious to sing or dance, Rasmus refuses to choose between the performing arts because he is so good at both. “It’s just about letting go,” he says, and yet again he’s right. There’s also a potential nickname for him at Leeds when he reveals he is a “huge” fan of Tarzan.
I’ve worried about how Aaronson is going to find living in Leeds, swapping breakfast by the Alps and TikTok dance routines with his girlfriend for a Greggs on Beeston Hill and a Saturday night scrap in Reflex. I do not have any worries about Kristensen, who knows what he thinks and isn’t afraid to tell anyone. Judging by the way he sings Sweet Caroline, I can just picture him on the Otley Run, dressed as Tarzan, dancing on the pool table at The Fenton, refusing to get a round in unless it’s decided by rock, paper, scissors. Welcome to Leeds, Rasmus. You’re going to fit right in. ⬢
— LKTH (@lkthxlufc) June 2, 2022