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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Michael Laudrup

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Michael Laudrup was born in Frederiksberg, Denmark, on June 15, 1964.

Source Wikipedia

He began playing football in the Vanløse, Brøndby and KB youth sectors. His first professional club was KB in 1981 where his father was manager. He played 14 games with 3 goals for the Copenhagen club in the first division. In 1982 he went back to Brøndby where he started to make a name for himself, playing 38 games and scoring 24 goals in the top league. He was voted player of the year in Denmark.

In 1983 he was bought by Italian giants Juventus but was considered too young and inexperienced so, also because the two foreign slots were already taken by Michel Platini and Zbigniew Boniek, he was loaned to Lazio for two years.

Lazio were newly promoted and "Long John" Chinaglia, the 1974 Scudetto hero, was back as President. He promised wealthy investors and a bright future but the reality turned out differently. The partners never materialized and money was scarce. At first it was even made out that Laudrup was owned by Lazio but the truth later emerged that he was merely being temporarily "parked" in Rome.

Anyway the season was a difficult one but "Michelino " shone. He scored a brace on his debut in a 4-2 defeat at Verona and then a goal on his home debut in a 3-0 win over Inter. He was still somewhat timid especially when the Italian defenders got tough but it was clear he would go on to a top level career. His superior class was already evident. In his first year he played 30 league games and scored 8 goals (Verona 2, Inter, Catania, Juventus, Fiorentina, Napoli 2) plus 5 games in Coppa Italia. Lazio managed to avoid relegation in the last match with a 2-2 draw at Pisa.

His second year in Rome was a disaster for Lazio but Laudrup was one of the few positive notes. He played 30 league games even if with only 1 goal (Como) and 5 in Coppa Italia with 3 goals (Padova, Pistoiese, Varese). It wasn't an easy season for the young Dane with three different managers (Carosi, Lorenzo and finally Lovati/Oddi). Chinaglia was in financial difficulty and the results on the pitch were even worse. Lazio were relegated and for Laudrup it was time to become a top European player.

In 1985 he returned to Juventus who in the meantime had offloaded Boniek to Roma. In Turin he played under Giovanni Trapattoni and won the Scudetto in his first season. He played 29 league games with 7 goals, 6 in Coppa Italia with 2 goals, 5 in the European Cup with 1 goal and also played the Intercontinental Cup Final against Argentinos Juniors with 1 goal in a 2-2 draw contributing to Juve's triumph on penalties.

He stayed in Turin four seasons playing 103 league games and scoring 16 goals, while in total he played 152 games with 36 goals. He struggled with some injuries and in 1989 at the end of his contract he left the Bianconeri.

In the summer of 1989 he joined Johan Cruyff's Barcelona. He was part of the "Dream Team" which included Hristo Stoichkov, Ronald Koeman, Pep Guardiola and Romario and won four consecutive Liga titles. He also won a Copa del Rey, 2 Spanish Super Cups (91' ,92'), a UEFA Super Cup and in 1992 at Wembley won the biggest prize of all, the last European Cup, beating Sampdoria 1-0 in extra time. He stayed five seasons with Barça and played a total of 217 matches with 55 goals. In the last period of his Catalunya adventure however he got less playing time and so he made a controversial career choice and left the Blaugrana, but not for any old team...

In the summer of 1994 he joined bitter rivals Real Madrid. This was a huge blow to Barcelona and in fact the Merengues won the Liga ending Barcelona's dominance, including a 5-0 win in the "clásico". The second season was not so successful. He played a total of 76 games for the "Blancos" and scored 15 goals. Despite only playing two seasons in Madrid, in 2002 he was voted 12th best player in Real Madrid history on an internet survey by Spanish newspaper Marca. Laudrup is one of the few players who is loved by both "Blaugrana" and "Blancos" fans.

In 1996 he left Spain for Japan and signed for Vissel Kobe. He helped them win promotion to the J1 League, playing 15 games with 5 goals.

In 1997, after a brief and controversial signing for Bosnian Čelik Zenica, where he never played, he joined Ajax Amsterdam. He stayed one season playing 21 games with 11 goals helping "de Godenzonen" (Sons of Gods) to win the league.

He retired at 34 although he did sometimes turn out for the Lyngby's Old Boys team.

At international level he won 104 caps for Denmark with 37 goals. Unlike his brother Brian however he was not part of the Danish team which shocked the world winning the European Championship in 1992. He did win the Confederations Cup in 1995. He has been voted Best Danish Player in history.

He then became a manager. His first job was as assistant coach of the national team under Morten Olsen. He then went back to Brøndby as manager. In four seasons he won a Danish Supercup (2002), 2 Danish Cups (2003, 2004), a Danish League Cup (2005) and a Danish Superliga (2005).

In 2006 he returned to Spain and had a season at Getafe. The "Azulones" (Deep Blue Ones) reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup and played exciting football but in May Laudrup resigned.

In 2008 he took on the Spartak Moscow job but was sacked in April.

In 2009 he almost joined Atletico Madrid but it fell through and in 2010 he signed for Mallorca. The "Piratas" (The Pirates) were in financial difficulty but Laudrup kept them in the Liga. He then left after contrasts with the owners.

In 2012 he signed for Swansea in the Premier League. In 2013 he led the Swans to their first ever major cup final when by defeating Chelsea they reached the League Cup Final which they then won beating Bradford City 5-0 at Wembley. He had a good spell in South-Wales but was eventually sacked in February 2014 after a poor run of form.

Since then he has managed in Qatar for Lekhwiya for one year winning the league (2014-15) and then Al -Rayyan (2016-18).

Michael Laudrup was a fantastic player, one of the best of his generation. He was immensely talented and creative. He was an offensive midfielder but was extremely versatile and could play as playmaker, right or left winger, number 10 or second striker. He was an intelligent player which, put together with his technique, made him great to watch. So he was skilful and imaginative but was also a hard fighting player and a strong tackler. He could shoot with both feet and had amazing dribbling skills even with very little space (he was one of the first to carry out the "croqueta" - a high speed dribbling movement). He had great acceleration too so could either dribble or just glide passed defenders. He was a clean and fair player, in fact he was never sent off in his whole career. In his homeland he was named "The Prince of Denmark" for his character and attitude.

On a personal note I had the fortune to often watch the great Barcelona teams of 1990-92 at the Nou Camp. It was a fantastic team with the already mentioned Stoichkov, Koeman, Guardiola but also Andoni Zubizarereta, Aitor Begiristain, Jon Andoni Goixoetxea, José Mari Bakero and Guillermo Amor among others. Laudrup was one of the shining stars of that team. I also sometimes went to watch Espanyol at Italians beloved, but now defunct, Sarria stadium.

At Lazio Laudrup left only positive memories. They were difficult times for the club but even at 19 it was clear " Michelino" or " Il Danesino" would go on to have an illustrious career, which he certainly did.

Lazio career


Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia


35 (8)

30 (8)



35 (4)

30 (1)

5 (3)


70 (12)

60 (9)

10 (3)



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