Brian Laudrup (Danish pronunciation: [pʁiæn ˈlaʊ̯tʁɔp], born 22 February 1969) is a Danish former footballer who played as a winger, forward or as a midfielder. He currently works as a football commentator, pundit and analyst on Kanal 5 and 6'eren. Along with former international goalkeeper Lars Høgh, Laudrup manages a football academy for marginalised youth.
Laudrup in 2013
|Full name||Brian Laudrup|
|Date of birth||22 February 1969|
|Place of birth||Vienna, Austria|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|1993–1994||→ Milan (loan)||9||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
During his short playing career which eventually stalled due to injury, Laudrup represented a number of European clubs. He started with Danish club Brøndby, winning two Danish championships in the late 1980s. He then played for German and Italian clubs, winning the 1993–94 Serie A as well as the 1994 UEFA Champions League title with Milan. He was a vital part of the Rangers team which dominated the Scottish Premier Division in the 1990s, winning three championships, among others. He won the 1998 UEFA Super Cup in his brief stint with English club Chelsea, and had a brief spell with Copenhagen in Denmark, before ending his career with Ajax in 2000.
Laudrup won the Danish Football Player of the Year award a record four times. He was named by FIFA as the fifth-best player in the world in 1992 and was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers at the FIFA 100 ceremony in March 2004, alongside his older brother Michael Laudrup.
Brian Laudrup was born into a football family – his father Finn Laudrup was a former Danish international, and his brother Michael Laudrup also became a Danish international. Brian Laudrup was born in Vienna, when Finn was playing for Wiener SC.
Laudrup began his senior career with Brøndby in Denmark. At Brøndby, he competed with later Danish internationals Claus Nielsen and Bent Christensen for a place in the starting line-up, and formed a great partnership with Nielsen. He won the 1987 and 1988 Danish First Division with the club. Halfway through the 1989 season, Laudrup's contract with Brøndby expired, and he agreed to join German club Bayer Uerdingen. The transfer fee was thought to be around DKK 8 million, the partition of which Brøndby and Brian's father and agent Finn Laudrup disagreed about. The Danish Football Association ruled in favor of Brøndby's claims of around DKK 3.9 million, but the Laudrups paid around DKK 3.3 million, and insisted on not paying the remainder. The case was eventually settled in March 1990.
Laudrup joined Uerdingen in order to play in a club with relative little pressure, and also looked to lean on fellow Dane Jan Bartram, who was already at the club. He scored 6 goals in 34 matches during the 1989–90 Bundesliga season, and impressed so much for both club and country that he was named Danish Player of the Year.
Laudrup's performances in the Bundesliga were widely praised. At kicker's biannual ranking of Bundesliga players, Laudrup was rated the league's second-best forward in the second highest category, international class, after Werder Bremen's New Zealander, Wynton Rufer. German sports magazine Sport Bild hailed Laudrup as the 1989–90 season's best signing, ahead of high-profile names including Uwe Bein, Stefan Kuntz and Thomas Strunz.
As he felt the Uerdingen executives would not strengthen the Uerdingen team, Laudrup sought to leave the club in the summer of 1990.
Laudrup's great performances in the Bundesliga and for Denmark attracted Bayern Munich for his signature, who purchased him for a DM6 million transfer fee in May 1990, making him the most expensive Bundesliga player at the time. In his first season, Laudrup scored 9 goals in 33 games as the club finished in second place. Laudrup was also part of the Bayern squad that reached the semi-final of the 1990–91 European Cup.
Laudrup was highly rated among the experts, but he was also very popular in large parts of the German population. In a vote that gave kicker-readers the opportunity to choose their favourite players at individual places and the most popular player, known as "das Idol '90", was won by Laudrup with four times as many votes as Klaus Allofs in second place. By a vote of Sport Bild that 156,000 readers participated in, he received 24,245 votes and was elected the fourth best performer out of 900 candidates among German legionnaires abroad and all players in the 1. and 2. Bundesliga. Only the popular world champions Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthäus and Rudi Völler received more votes. Laudrup finished ahead of high-profile stars like Thomas Häßler, Jürgen Klinsmann, Andreas Möller, Thomas Doll, Jürgen Kohler, Karl-Heinz Riedle and Matthias Sammer, and so entirely on Bundesliga players, Laudrup took first place.
Laudrup was a consistent performer in his first five matches of the 1991–92 season  but suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee in August 1991. Laudrup watched from the stands as the team collapsed in a disastrous season. In December 1991, Laudrup said new Bayern executives Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge were creating chaos in the team through their public criticism of the younger Bayern players. He returned to the team in February 1992 and played the last 15 matches of the season as Bayern finished in tenth position. Despite the injury-hit season, Laudrup still finished the 1991–92 season being named Danish Player of the Year again for the second time, and finished fifth in the FIFA World Player of the year poll.
Laudrup's reputation began to grow and he fulfilled his lifelong ambition when he moved to Serie A (at the time, arguably the top league in the world) to sign for Fiorentina. Fiorentina started the 1992–93 season brilliantly, playing open, flowing and attacking football in the first part of the season. However, a change of manager in the second half of the season was the beginning of the end for Fiorentina.The team as a whole produced mediocre performances, and despite the presence of such other stars as Stefan Effenberg and Gabriel Batistuta, the club was unexpectedly relegated after more than 50-straight years playing in Serie A. Despite the relegation, Laudrup himself had a fairly solid season, and was loaned to Milan for the 1993–94 season.
Loaned to MilanEdit
Laudrup was loaned to Milan for the 1993–94 season, which only saw him play a handful of matches throughout the season due to a squad rotation system at the club, and also because of the three foreigner rule at the time. The world class team of Milan at the time had seven foreigners, including Laudrup, Marcel Desailly, Jean-Pierre Papin, Dejan Savićević and Marco van Basten, which meant Laudrup was not always used. It was also manager Fabio Capello's very strict system where he preferred to play more defensive type players rather than the direct play preferred by Laudrup. However, Capello's defensive system proved to work at the end of the season, as Milan won the Scudetto only scoring 36 goals in 34 matches. Laudrup played seven European matches for the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League-winning Milan side. Despite being on contract with Fiorentina until the summer of 1996, Laudrup stated in December 1993 he did not want to return to the club.
In July 1994, Laudrup was offered an escape route from Italy when he was approached by Walter Smith of Rangers. Rangers at this time were an ambitious club and had money to spend to try and seek European glory. This attracted Laudrup, and he signed for a £2.3 million transfer fee.
He made an immediate impact at Rangers. On the opening league fixture of the season against Motherwell in August 1994, it was from his precise cross that Mark Hateley headed the opening goal. In the second half with only a few minutes remaining, he provided another assist with a long run from the half-way line before passing to Duncan Ferguson who then scored Rangers' second goal to clinch a 2–1 win. He scored his first goal for the club later that same month, in a Scottish League Cup tie against Falkirk. Although Scottish football was more physical than what he was previously used to, he excelled in the free role given to him by manager Walter Smith. Laudrup was very happy at the club and this was proved by him turning down an offer from Barcelona five months after signing for Rangers, which put Smith in shock: "Brian, you've turned down Barcelona?" Laudrup said, "I would prefer to play against Falkirk." He finished the season with 10 goals in 33 League games, in addition to a number of assists, as Rangers won their seventh consecutive Championship. As recognition of his fine performances, Laudrup won both the Scottish Football Writers and Scottish PFA player of the year awards. His great performances for Rangers and Denmark also made him win his third Danish player of the year.
Laudrup missed a run of nine League games in the early part of season 1995–96 due to an injury sustained in international duty. He returned against Celtic in November 1995 and scored Rangers' first goal in an enthralling 3–3 draw at Ibrox. He was also now playing alongside Paul Gascoigne, and the pair were instrumental in Rangers winning their eight league championship. Laudrup also made a big impact in the latter stages of the Scottish Cup that season. He scored the winning goal in the semi-final against Celtic; playing a one-two with Gordon Durie, before taking control of the ball on his chest and chipping it over the Celtic keeper. In the final against Hearts, Rangers hammered their opponents 5–1. Durie scored a hat-trick, the first ever Rangers player to do so in the final. However, it was Laudrup who won the Man of the Match award, having provided assists for all three of Durie's goals, and scoring the other two himself. The game has since become known as the Laudrup Final.
His third season at Rangers, 1996–97, saw another cup final goal, this time in a 4–3 win over Hearts in the 1996 Scottish League Cup Final. The season's most notable concern was Rangers bid to equal Celtic's record of nine consecutive league titles. With Rangers hampered by a series of niggling injuries to their main strikers, a greater burden for goalscoring was placed on Laudrup. He responded well; scoring 16 goals in 33 league games, including the only goal against Celtic in a 1–0 win in November 1996, and a headed goal in a 1–0 win in May 1997 away at Dundee United which clinched the league title, and the club's bid for nine-in-a-row. His performances saw him win the Scottish Football Writers' award once again. His great performances for Rangers and Denmark also made him win his fourth Danish player of the year.
Laurdup was linked with a £5 million move to Ajax Amsterdam in the summer of 1997, but was persuaded to stay with Rangers for one more season to help their bid for a tenth successive league title. However, despite a bright start, the season ended up an anti-climax, with Laudrup failing to match the form of previous seasons. Rangers finished runners up in the league behind Celtic, and ended the season trophy-less after losing to Hearts in the 1998 Scottish Cup Final.
Many fans still consider him to be the greatest ever foreigner to have played for Rangers. His performance in the 1996 Scottish Cup Final, where he scored two and set-up three goals, has since made Rangers fans call the match the "Laudrup Final". He later described his time at Rangers as "the four best years of my career."
Laudrup joined Chelsea in the summer of 1998. There was a possibility of Laudrup becoming a Manchester Utd player when Alex Ferguson phoned Brian about coming to Old Trafford. Laudrup said: "I had to tell him that he called a day late, because I had just signed with Chelsea".
However he very quickly had reservations, and tried to get out of his contract before he even kicked a ball for Chelsea, informing them about this prior to the 1998 World Cup. Chelsea were not accommodating and told Laudrup they would go to court or involve FIFA and UEFA if the contract was not honoured.
Laudrup relented and become a Chelsea player, but was very open that he was unhappy in London and with the squad rotation system policy. "I would have thought twice about signing for Chelsea if I had known," he said. He added, "When I first discussed terms with Chelsea in February, nobody told me about this system if I'd known about it I would have brought it up" and concluded "I don't like the system of rotation."
He made his debut as Chelsea won the 1998 UEFA Super Cup. He did not play many matches due to a combination of injury, the squad rotation system that Chelsea had where no player was guaranteed to be in the starting line up, and also because of his fall-out with the club. Laudrup provided an assist in the 4–3 victory against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park after coming off the substitutes' bench to equalize 3–3. Laudrup provided another assist in the 2–0 victory against Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge.
Laudrup's only Chelsea goal came in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup to give Chelsea a valuable 0–1 away win against Copenhagen to send Chelsea through to the quarter-finals. It was also his last match for the London club. Manager Gianluca Vialli had no hesitation about playing Laudrup against Copenhagen despite his unhappiness at the club, stating "I've always had faith in Brian. I knew before the game he was having a quite difficult time with all that was going on but he's been outstanding in training and previous matches and he responded very well. He's been professional and the goal was the right reward for him." After the tie, he ironically moved on to Copenhagen who had negotiated a deal during the time of their two games against Chelsea.
Laudrup moved back to Denmark in the spring of 1999 for a brief spell with Copenhagen. Playing for the main rivals of former club Brøndby, he was unceremoniously booed by the home fans when he revisited Brøndby Stadium in March 1999, and was also harassed by fans from other Danish clubs.
Family problems resulted in Laudrup joining Ajax. Laudrup's registration had reverted to Chelsea after leaving Copenhagen, therefore Ajax and Chelsea had to negotiate a transfer fee. He said, "I had offers from 15 clubs and I have the feeling that Ajax is the right club for me. I didn't enjoy playing with FC Copenhagen. I had the same problems there that I had with Chelsea; I could not show more than 70% of my real self." Ajax head coach Jan Wouters, who spent a season with Laudrup at Bayern Munich, added, "I like Brian a lot because he can adapt and play several positions." After one individually successful season from 1999 to 2000, scoring 15 goals in 38 matches, Laudrup could not play another season due to injuries. He was forced to retire from top-level football at age 31 after one of the most successful careers in Danish football.
Laudrup made his international debut for the Denmark under-17 team in July 1984, and played six matches for the team until October that year. From October 1985 to August 1987, he played 12 matches and scored 6 goals for the under-19 team. He also represented the under-21s in five games from June 1987 to November 1988. He was called up for the senior Denmark national team by coach Sepp Piontek in April 1987 as a replacement for his brother Michael, but did not receive his debut.
Laudrup was included in the senior Danish "Olympic national team" of under-21 coach Richard Møller Nielsen, and took part in three qualification matches for the 1988 Summer Olympics. He made his debut on 18 November 1987, at age 18, in a 0–1 defeat to West Germany, with Bjarne Goldbæk also debuting in that match. Laudrup scored his first national team goal in his third game, a 4–0 win against Greece on 20 April 1988. He was then included as a part of coach Piontek's selection ahead of the UEFA Euro 1988. He came on as a substitute in a friendly match against Austria in April 1988, but broke his collarbone just before the final Euro 1988 squad was named.
Laudrup was recalled to the senior national team in February 1989, and became a mainstay in the team under new national team coach Richard Møller Nielsen. He scored three goals in four matches as Denmark narrowly missed qualification for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. During the dispute with Brøndby over his transfer fee, it was discussed whether the Danish Football Association should ban Laudrup from the national team. Following three matches in the qualification campaign for the Euro 1992, Laudrup opted to quit the national team in November 1990 alongside his brother Michael and Jan Bartram, as he lacked respect for coach Nielsen.
European champion at Euro 1992Edit
Laudrup returned to the national team under coach Nielsen in April 1992. In 1992, Laudrup travelled with the Danish national team to Euro 1992 in Sweden, and in a strictly defensive strategy, Laudrup was one of the few attacking players. Though he did not score a single goal in the competition, his skill and speed was an important part of the Danish team that went on to win the tournament, and Laudrup was voted a shared fifth in the 1992 FIFA World Player of the Year poll, with fellow Dane Peter Schmeichel, though he had the edge over Schmeichel in the domestic polls, where Laudrup won his second Danish Player of the Year award in 1992.
Laudrup scored 2 goals in 12 matches as Denmark were edged out of participation at the 1994 World Cup by Spain and the Republic of Ireland. During the World Cup qualification, Michael Laudrup had re-entered the team.
Confederations Cup 95 successEdit
Laudrup was a vital part of the Danish team that won the Confederations Cup in 1995. He scored a remarkable individual goal in the 2–0 win over Saudi Arabia which saw him beat three defenders before slotting it into the net from a wide angle. The goal is rated by FIFA as one of the greatest goals ever scored in the history of the competition. Denmark defeated Argentina in the final 2–0, with Laudrup providing an excellent dribble down the wing to assist in the second goal. Laudrup won the Golden Ball award naming him the best player of the tournament.
Euro 1996 participationEdit
Laudrup helped Denmark qualify for Euro 1996, though the tournament was a disappointment for the defending champions. Laudrup was a highlight for the Danes scoring three goals in as many matches, including two against Turkey, but the team was eliminated in the preliminary group stage.
World Cup 98 participationEdit
With four goals in seven matches, Laudrup was an important part of the Danish team that qualified for the 1998 World Cup, the only World Cup of his career. He shone at the tournament, scoring two goals and gathering three assists. He saw Denmark through to the quarter-finals with a goal in the 4–1 surprise thrashing of Nigeria in the first knock-out round. The quarter-final was his last match for Denmark, where they were defeated 2–3 by eventual runners-up Brazil, despite Laudrup setting-up the first goal to make it 1–0, and scoring to the top near corner of the goal to level the match at 2–2. Until the Brazil match, when Laudrup had scored for Denmark, they had never lost.
The quarter-final was the best ever Danish result at a World Cup, and Laudrup later ranked the 1998 Denmark team higher than the Euro 1992-winning side. He was named as one of the 16 players selected by FIFA as the "All Star Team" of the World Cup, alongside his brother Michael. After the tournament, Laudrup decided to end his national team career, having played in 82 matches, scoring 21 goals over the course of 11 years.
Style of playEdit
Laudrup was an elegant, technical and creative player who was gifted with incredible pace and ball control. He used this talent, offensive capabilities and acceleration to dribble at speed and beat players with relative ease to create openings for teammates. Although he was a powerful and accurate striker of the ball, who was capable of finishing well and scoring with either foot as well as with his head, Laudrup was also known to be a very unselfish player with excellent vision who would often take more pleasure in setting-up teammates rather than going for goal himself. A versatile player, he was capable of playing in several attacking and midfield positions; his preferred position was in a free role, as a winger on either flank, or in the centre, as an attacking midfielder behind the forwards, with licence to roam. He was also deployed as a midfielder, as a deep-lying forward, or even as a striker on occasion throughout his career. Despite his skill and ability, his consistency and mentality was occasionally brought into question throughout his career.
Career after footballEdit
Laudrup now works as a pundit and co-commentator for Discovery Networks Denmark, covering the Premier League and Denmark national team. He formerly covered the UEFA Champions League in the same role for Danish TV3+.
He is also involved with the so-called "Laudrup & Høgh ProCamp", a youth football camp, co–coached with former national team goalkeeper Lars Høgh.
In his spare time, he played for Lyngby BK's Old Boys side alongside Michael Laudrup.
Laudrup is married to Mette and has a son, Nicolai, and a daughter, Rasmine.
Quotes about LaudrupEdit
Franz Beckenbauer "Brian was the most expensive player in the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich bought him. Was he worth the money? "Absolutely. He deserved his salary. Like his brother, Michael, he was a world class player and he really helped the club while he was here. It was a fine time with Brian and Effenberg for the spectators, although it Maybe not the most fertile period in profit terms. We won the no titles."
Graeme Le Saux, December 2013 was asked. Which player was your toughest opponent and why? "This is a question that made me realise the level I managed to achieve in the sport. So many world class players (a phrase I don't use lightly) and I competed against them. Zidane, Figo, Raul, Henry, Bergkamp, Hagi, Stoichkov, both Ronaldos, Maldini to name but a few. My toughest opponent would be between Figo for Portugal and Brian Laudrup for Denmark."
Walter Smith "Brian Laudrup is as good a player as I have ever worked with, but he frustrated me. He had the capability of being up there with the greatest players of all time. There was just that little bit in him mentally that stopped him from being right at the very top. Make no mistake, he was a fantastic player for us, but he could have elevated himself into a position where he was one of the best in the world."
Charlie Nicholas "I know Celtic supporters are fed up with the mention of Brian Laudrup's name but I can't get enough of him. He might be Rangers' property, but Laudrup looks like my idea of a Celtic player."
John Greig on Laudrup's unselfishness "Apart from applying the ammunition, Laudrup was also capable of scoring his share of goals, but I genuinely believe that he was embarrassed about scoring. He seemed to derive much more pleasure from making goals".
Paul Gascoigne "Brian Laudrup was an amazing player. In training even if you knew exactly what Brian was about to do, you still couldn't stop him. I remember Stuart McCall trying to get the ball off him eight or nine times and he couldn't get near him, when all Brian was doing was the same trick each time."
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Denmark||League||Danish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Italy||League||Coppa Italia||Super Cup||Europe||Total|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Denmark||League||Danish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Netherlands||League||KNVB Cup||Super Cup||Europe||Total|
- Bayern Munich
- Scottish Premier Division: 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97
- Scottish Cup: 1995–96
- Scottish League Cup: 1996–97
- Danish Player of the Year: 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997
- kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 1989–90
- UEFA Euro 1992 Team of the Tournament
- FIFA World Player of the Year (5th): 1992
- Ballon d'Or: 1992 (6th), 1996 (28th), 1998 (23rd)
- Best Player (FIFA Confederations Cup): 1995 (then known as King Fahd cup)
- SFWA Footballer of the Year: 1994–95, 1996–97
- SPFA Players' Player of the Year: 1994–95
- 1998 FIFA World Cup All-star team
- FIFA 100
- Denmark Hall of Fame
- Scottish Football Hall of Fame
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