Brian Laudrup

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Brian Laudrup
Personal information
Full name Brian Laudrup
Date of birth (1969-02-22) 22 February 1969 (age 48)
Place of birth Vienna, Austria
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Forward[1][2][3]
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–1989 Brøndby 49 (13)
1989–1990 Bayer Uerdingen 34 (6)
1990–1992 Bayern Munich 53 (11)
1992–1993 Fiorentina 31 (5)
1993–1994 Milan (loan) 9 (1)
1994–1998 Rangers 116 (33)
1998 Chelsea 7 (0)
1998–1999 Copenhagen 12 (2)
1999–2000 Ajax 31 (13)
Total 342 (84)
National team
1984 Denmark U17 6 (0)
1985–1987 Denmark U19 12 (6)
1987–1988 Denmark U21 5 (0)
1987–1998 Denmark 82 (21)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Brian Laudrup (born 22 February 1969) is a retired Danish footballer who played as a 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.[7]

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 1994 Serie A as well as the 1994 UEFA Champions League title with A.C. 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 stint with FC Copenhagen in Denmark, before ending his career with Dutch club Ajax in 2000. He played 82 games and scored 21 goals for the Danish national team, and was a vital part of the Danish teams who won the Euro 1992 and 1995 Confederations Cup.

He won the Danish Footballer 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.

Early life[edit]

Brian Laudrup was born into a football family, as his father Finn Laudrup was a former Danish international, and his brother Michael Laudrup also became a Danish international. He was born in Vienna, when Finn was playing for Wiener Sport-Club.

Club career[edit]


Brian started his senior career with Brøndby IF 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 Claus Nielsen.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] The case was eventually settled in March 1990.[11]


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.[12] He scored six goals in 34 games during the 1989–90 Bundesliga season, and impressed so much for both club and country, that he was named Danish Player of the Year.

Laudrups 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.[13] German sports magazine Sport Bild hailed Laudrup as the 1989–90 season's best signing ahead of big names like Uwe Bein, Stefan Kuntz and Thomas Strunz.[13]

As he felt the Uerdingen executives would not strengthen the Uerdingen team, Laudrup wanted to leave the club in the summer 1990.[14]

Bayern Munich[edit]

His great performances in the Bundesliga and for his country attracted Bayern Munich for his signature who bought him for a DM6 million transfer fee in May 1990, making him the most expensive Bundesliga player at the time.[15] In his first season with Bayern, Laudrup scored nine goals in 33 games, as the club finished in second place. Laudrup was also part of the Bayern team that reached the semi-final of the European Cup. Brian Laudrup was highly rated among the experts, but he was also very popular in large parts of the German population. By a vote that gave Kicker-readers 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. [16]

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 1st and 2nd Bundesliga. Only the immensely popular world champions Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthäus and Rudi Völler got more votes. Laudrup finishing ahead of big stars like Häßler, Klinsmann, Möller, Doll, Kohler, Riedle and Sammer and so entirely on Bundesliga players, Laudrup took first place. [17]

After playing the first five games of the following season, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee in August 1991.[18] 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.[19] He returned to the team in February 1992, and played the last 15 games of the season, as Bayern finished tenth. After an injury hit season Laudrup still finished the 1991–92 season being named Danish Player of the Year again for the second time, and finished 5th in the FIFA World Player of the year poll.


His reputation began to grow and Laudrup fulfilled his lifelong ambition when he moved to Serie A which at that time was the number 1 league in the world. He signed for Fiorentina. Fiorentina started off the season brilliantly playing open, flowing and attacking football in the first part of the season. A change of manager in the second half of the season was the beginning of the end for Fiorentina as the team as a whole produced mediocre performances which led to an unexpected relegation after more than fifty years in Serie A.[20] Laudrup's time in Italy was unhappy and at the end of the season Fiorentina were relegated along with the stars of Stefan Effenberg and Gabriel Batistuta. Laudrup had a fairly good season in Italy in spite of the relegation and was loaned to Milan the following season.[21]

Loaned to Milan[edit]

He 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 that time. The world class team of A.C. Milan at this time had a squad of seven foreigners including Laudrup, which included the world class stars of Marcel Desailly, Jean-Pierre Papin, Dejan Savićević and Marco van Basten which meant Laudrup was not always used.[22] It was also Fabio Capello's very strict system where he preferred to play more defensive type players, rather than the direct play of Laudrup. Capello's defensive system proved to work at the end of the season as A.C. Milan won the league only scoring 36 goals in 34 matches. Laudrup played seven European games for the Champions League winning A.C. Milan side. Despite being on contract with Fiorentina until the summer 1996, Laudrup stated in December 1993 that he did not want to return to Fiorentina.[23]


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 in a £2.3 million deal. 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 Walter Smith in shock "Brian, you've turned down Barcelona?" Laudrup said "I would prefer to play against Falkirk".[24] His time in Scotland was filled with success as he helped Rangers complete their nine-in-a-row sweep of the Scottish League Title and was awarded Danish Player of the Year twice, giving him a record four wins of the award. Laudrup was also awarded the SFWA Footballer of the Year twice for seasons 1994–95 and 1996–97, and awarded the SPFA Players' Player of the Year for the season 1994–95.

Laudrup's time with Rangers was a massive success where 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 setup three goals has since made Rangers fans call the game the Laudrup Final.[25]


Laudrup joined Chelsea in 1998. However, Laudrup's time in London was very unhappy. He tried to get out of his contract before he even kicked a ball for Chelsea and contacted them regarding this before France 98.[26] Chelsea were having none of this and told Laudrup they would not hesitate to go to court or involve FIFA and UEFA if the contract wasn't honoured.[26]

Laudrup would still become a Chelsea player but not in his heart. Laudrup 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.

"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," he said.

  • "I feel from my own point of view that I don't like it. Whenever I play and feel as though I have done well, I don't know if I will play the next game."
  • "I can be man of the match in one game and then not even on the bench the next"
  • "It is a bad system, what I need to maintain a good level of fitness is to play all the time"
  • "I might play well for 90 minutes and then not play another game for the next couple of weeks, I don't like the system of rotation"[27]

He made his debut as Chelsea won the 1998 UEFA Super Cup. He did not play many games due to injury, the squad rotation system that Chelsea had where no player was guaranteed to be in the starting line up, and also his fall out with the club.[22]

Laudrup provided an assist in the 4–3 victory against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park after coming on from the bench to equalize 3–3.[28] Laudrup provided another assist in the 2–0 victory against Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge.[29]

Laudrup's only Chelsea goal came in the 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 game for the London club. Manager Gianluca Vialli had no hesitation about playing Laudrup against Copenhagen with what's been going on over the Laudrup saga and added "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."[30]

Former Chelsea teammate Graham Le Saux later named Laudrup in his greatest ever XI.[31]


He then moved back to Denmark in the spring 1999, and had a brief spell with FC 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,[32] and was also harassed by fans from other Danish clubs.[33]


Family problems resulted in Laudrup joining Ajax. Laudrup's registration had reverted to Chelsea after leaving Copenhagen so Ajax and Chelsea had to negotiate a fee.[34] 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."[34] The Ajax coach Jan Wouters who spent a season with him at Bayern Munich added "I like Brian a lot because he can adapt and play several positions"[34] After one individually successful season from 1999 to 2000 scoring 15 goals in 38 matches Laudrup could not play another season for Ajax due to injuries. Laudrup was forced to retire from top-level football at 31 years of age, after one of the most successful careers in Danish football.[34]

International career[edit]

Laudrup made his international debut for the Denmark under-17 team in July 1984, and played six games for the team until October that year. From October 1985 to August 1987, he played 12 games and scored six goals for the Denmark under-19s. He also represented the Danish under-21s in five games from June 1987 to November 1988.[35] He was called up for the senior Danish national team by coach Sepp Piontek in April 1987, as a replacement for his brother Michael,[36] but did not get his debut.[37]

Senior debut[edit]

Laudrup was included in the senior Danish "Olympic national team" of under-21 coach Richard Møller Nielsen, and took part in three qualification games for the 1988 Summer Olympics. He made his debut on 18 November 1987, at the age of 18, in a 0–1 defeat to West Germany, with Bjarne Goldbæk also debuting in that game. 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 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.[38]

He was recalled to the senior national team in February 1989,[35] and became a mainstay in the team under new national team coach Richard Møller Nielsen. He scored three goals in four games, as Denmark narrowly missed qualification for the 1990 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.[11] Following three games in the qualification campaign for the Euro 1992, Laudrup decided to quit the national team in November 1990 alongside Michael Laudrup and Jan Bartram, as he lacked respect for coach Nielsen.[39]

European Champion at Euro 92[edit]

Laudrup returned to the national team under coach Nielsen in April 1992.[35] In 1992, Laudrup travelled with the Danish national team to the 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.

He scored two goals in 12 games,[35] 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. Brian scored one goal in three games, as Denmark won the 1995 Intercontinental Cup, beating Argentina in the final.

Confederations Cup 95 success[edit]

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.[40] Denmark beat 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.[41]

Euro 96 participation[edit]

He 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 games, including two against Turkey, but the team was eliminated in the preliminary group stage.

World Cup 98 participation[edit]

With four goals in seven games, Laudrup was an important part of the Danish team that qualified for the 1998 World Cup, the only World Cup of his career. Brian 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 game for the Denmark team, when they were defeated 2–3 by eventual runners-up Brazil, despite Brian Laudrup setting up the first goal to make it 1–0, and scoring to the top near corner of the goal to level the game 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.[42] 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 at the top, having played in 82 matches, scoring 21 goals over the course of eleven years.

Style of play[edit]

Laudrup was an elegant, technical and creative player who was gifted with incredible pace and ball control.[43][44] He used this talent, offensive capabilities and acceleration to dribble at speed and beat players with relative ease to create openings for team mates.[45] Although he was a powerful an accurate striker of the ball, who was capable of 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 team mates rather than going for goal himself.[45][46] 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.[47] He was also deployed as a midfielder,[48] as a deep-lying forward,[49] or even as a striker on occasion throughout his career.[43][50] Despite his skill and ability, his consistency and mentality was occasionally brought into question throughout his career.[49][51]

Career after football[edit]

Laudrup now works as a pundit and co-commentator for Discovery Networks Denmark, covering the Premier League and the national team. He formerly covered 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.

Personal life[edit]

Laudrup is married to Mette and has a son, Nicolai, and a daughter, Rasmine.

On 7 September 2010, he announced that he had lymphoma and was undergoing treatment.[52][53] Three months after the start of the treatment he was told that there were no signs of the disease.[54]

Quotes about Laudrup[edit]

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."[55]

Horst Wohlers "He is by far the best player I've ever had in a squad. When he was the best - and he was often! - He was several classes above the second-best in the Bundesliga."[56]

Andreas Brehme "a world class player of the highest quality class"[57]

Roland Wohlfarth, explaining who was a major part in his goals "With a partner like Brian Laudrup that can drive any defense in the world crazy, I can reach 20 goals. Maybe even a little more"[58]

Michel Platini "he is better than his brother when he was that age."[59]

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."[60]

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."[51]

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."[51]

Ally McCoist on Rangers's tactics upon Laudrup's arrival, 1997 "Our instructions were simple. Get Brian the ball then get out of his road when he got it."[51]

Andy Goram on Laudrup, 1997 "When he first came to the club I don't even think the management knew how good a player we'd got."[51]

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".[61]

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."[62]

Career statistics[edit]


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Denmark League Danish Cup League Cup Europe Total
1986 Brøndby 1st Division 2 0 2 0
1987 24 11 2 0 26 11
1988 12 0 12 0
1989 11 2 1 0 12 2
Germany League DFB-Pokal Other Europe Total
1989–90 Uerdingen Bundesliga 34 6 34 6
1990–91 Bayern Munich 33 9 1 0 1 0 7 0 42 9
1991–92 20 2 1 0 21 2
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1992–93 Fiorentina Serie A 31 5 4 1 35 6
1993–94 Milan 9 1 2 0 7 1 18 2
Scotland League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Total
1994–95 Rangers Premier Division 33 10 2 2 1 1 2 0 38 13
1995–96 22 2 5 3 1 0 5 1 34 6
1996–97 33 16 2 0 2 2 6 2 43 20
1997–98 28 5 4 0 0 0 4 0 36 5
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1998–99 Chelsea Premier League 7 0 4 1 11 1
Denmark League Danish Cup League Cup Europe Total
1998–99 Copenhagen Superliga 12 2 12 2
Netherlands League KNVB Cup League Cup Europe Total
1999–2000 Ajax Eredivisie 31 13 1 0 1 0 5 2 38 15
Total Denmark 61 15 3 0 64 15
Germany 87 17 2 0 1 0 7 0 97 17
Italy 40 6 6 1 7 1 53 8
Scotland 116 33 13 5 4 3 17 3 150 44
England 7 0 4 1 11 1
Netherlands 31 13 1 0 1 0 5 2 38 15
Career total 342 84 22 6 5 3 43 7 412 100




Bayern Munich





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  67. ^ José Luis, Pierrend (26 March 2005). "European Footballer of the Year ("Ballon d'Or") 1998". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 

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