Rangers legend Brian Laudrup was a genius but what was he like to play against?

Craigie

Well-Known Member
“How come you are so good?”

The immortal Jim White line sums up the genius that was Brian Laudrup perfectly.

He was good enough to render a silver-tongued, super-slick presenter slack-jawed in wonderment.

The great Dane arrived at Rangers in the summer of 1994 from Fiorentina following a season spent on loan at the newly crowned European champions AC Milan.

He actually played seven times for I Rossoneri in the Champions League but never featured in the final when Fabio Capello’s side thumped Barcelona 4-0.

He was also a European Championship winner of course, and yes he could play a bit in Europe as Chick Young was ‘politely’ informed by Walter Smith.

His arrival in Govan wasn’t greeted in the same manner as Paul Gascoigne a year later but, in truth, it really should’ve been.

Scottish football was about to witness, arguably, the greatest ever player to grace these shores.

But what was it like to play against him? We tracked down five players who ran the gauntlet of the attacker's outstanding skillset.

JOHN PHILLIBEN - Ex-Motherwell
“My first recollection of Brian Laudrup was the opening day of the season 94/95 when we played at Ibrox and it was 1-1.

“We’d been playing for an hour with 10 men because Rab Shannon had got sent off early.

“We got a corner in the last minute of the game and Alex McLeish had sent everybody up to try and win the game.

“The ball got played into the box, it got headed clear to the edge of the box, Brian Laudrup picked it up and ran the full length of the field, slipped it into big Duncan Ferguson and he scored in the last minute to beat us 2-1.

“The other recollection was again at Ibrox and involved Jamie Dolan, God rest his soul.

“Brian Laudrup absolutely turned him inside out.

“He got to the byline went to cross, Jamie dived in to block the cross and Laudrup pulled it back, Jamie sprung up, Laudrup went to cross it again with his left foot, Jamie dived in, he pulled it back and then for the third time Laudrup went to cross it, Jamie’s dived in again and Laudrup then drifted past him.

“Honestly, Jamie got pelters for that after the game!

“The thing about Brian Laudrup is he was such a tall guy and the ability he had when he had the ball at his feet, running at you at pace, he was almost unplayable.

“He was an exceptional player.

“You knew you were going to be up against it when you played against him.

“When he signed for Rangers I think everybody knew he was a quality player having played in Italy.

“He was such an exceptional talent it was one of those things where on a Saturday morning if you knew you were playing and playing right-back and he was left-wing you were going to be in for a torrid time.

“Back in the day that would be the main aim to go and try and hit him early because you could tackle in those days.

“Go and give him a wee warning and say, ‘Look, if you’re going to give me a torrid time I’m going to try and catch you and make it a wee bit easier for myself.’ “But he was some player, he actually took a few hefty tackles but still got back up.”

BRIAN IRVINE - Ex-Aberdeen captain
“Thankfully he was never a through the middle guy, I was a centre back so it was more the full-backs like Stewart McKimmie who had to deal with him.

“But obviously he’d come into your area.

“It was a bit like Gascoigne, you just couldn’t get near him.

“You forget how good a player he was and how strong he made Rangers.

“When you played against someone like Laudrup you just knew it was going to be a tough game with his ability; it was almost as if the ball was stuck to his foot.

“People often use that as a cliche saying but it was so true with him.

“Wherever he moved the ball went with him and it was almost impossible to get the ball off him.

“If he tried to take you on there is a fair chance he was going to get by you.

“When you played against him you realised how special he was.

“Being as tall as he was, you didn’t expect that skill.

“If he moved from right to left without a ball that would be ok but he actually moved the ball with him and it stayed within his control.

“He didn’t knock the ball to the right or the left and you had to chase after it, it was literally stuck to his foot.

“In the winger positions you’d want a midfielder to go and help the full-back or one of the centre backs to double up to try and cover but invariably he’d just have two of you to beat so I don’t know what the answer was.

“If he was at his peak and at his best he basically was unstoppable.

“The only good thing was the last time I played against Brian was in the 9-in-a-row celebrations for Rangers in a Scottish League select or whatever it was in 2007.

“Thankfully most players you were up against like Mark Hateley for example, he wasn’t quite as dangerous as he had been in his day, obviously I wasn’t either because I’d retired but Brian was as good as he was when he was a player!

“He was a good down to earth opponent, he wasn’t somebody you thought was a big-headed guy at that, he was a nice guy."

COLIN MILLER - Ex-Hearts and Dunfermline

"Goodness me, for some reason, for every manager that I played for I had to do the man-marking jobs on him.

"You can imagine trying to pick Brian Laudrup up.

"In all the times that I played against him, he never shook my hand once.

"I went up to shake hands and he just walked past me.

"Maybe, because I tried to kick lumps out of him, I don't know.

"The first time I played against Laudrup was at Ibrox and I couldn't believe the size of him.

"He was possibly about six feet one but what a player he was for Rangers.

"If he got past you, you were never getting back to get another bite at him.”
 

Craigie

Well-Known Member
Part 2

DYLAN KERR - Ex-Kilmarnock


“Best player I’ve ever played against.

“Brian Laudrup was just an athlete, his physique was different class.

“I remember my first game at Ibrox, I’m in the tunnel and Ally McCoist says to me, ‘Wee man, I’ll get you your ticket back to England after the game.’

“I said, ‘What for?’ “He said, ‘Because Brian’s going to f*****g torture you.’

“Coisty still reminds me to this day whenever I speak to him or WhatsApp him and we always have a chuckle about that.

“The thing that was different between Brian and a lot of other wingers was he was always one step ahead of you in thinking before he got the ball, he was just so quick.

“That’s very difficult as a defender because you’re trying to second guess what he’s going to do.

“He’d come inside and he was away before you even turned.

“His physique and his upper body strength made him quick.

“He wasn’t quick as in sprinting quick, he was quick in terms of power.

“The thing I learned from it from a coaches point of view when I get players like that in any team I coach, I tell them to go to the gym and work on their body strength.

“Their shoulders, their arms and work on becoming quicker through power not quicker through being quick.

“His power of movement. I can't think of anybody with that ability to be one step ahead.

“You had to make sure you had to guess what he was going to do and seven times out of ten you never could because he was always quicker, he always had the edge on you.

“The third time I played against him I kind of worked him out.

“So basically instead of going close to him and trying to win the ball, I’d actually let him have the ball and be like, ‘Now you’ve got to beat me.’ “Even my mates when they came to watch me said, ‘F**k me! He gave you a torrid afternoon!’ and he did because he was that good.”

NEIL POINTON - Ex-Hearts

“The one match that springs to mind is when we played Rangers in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden.

“He’s obviously one player you think could win Rangers a game having played them in the league.

“He floated around a lot, he was a bit like Jack Grealish or Mason Mount nowadays.

“He could not be in a game for 20 minutes just playing nice and simple and then all of a sudden he’d do something pure magic.

“You couldn’t get near him and you could be 1-0 down, 2-0 down within the space of two minutes.

“For me, he was a very upright player, he was like the American 200m runner Michael Johnson.

“They used to say he had like an ironing board in his back because he was that upright but boy could he run.

“Laudrup was very similar, he wasn’t like a sort of Allan Wells type muscular guy, he was six foot but he looked a lot taller.

“He wasn’t stooped over or had that running style that made him look fast or small.

“He was so elegant you could say, like a cruise liner.

“One minute he was nice and steady, next minute he was doing like 20 miles an hour running with the ball.

“You basically had to go tight with him, whereas usually, people would say to get tight to the player just as the ball’s arriving that wasn’t good enough for him.

“You had to get close to him and sort of put the player off from passing him the ball.

“So it was basically, ‘I can’t pass to him because that defender’s too tight.’

“Whereas Laudrup probably said, ‘I don’t care how tight they are, give me the ball.’

“His first touch was probably better than anybody that’s around today.

“I think it was a case of if he was on the ball everybody had to be on their toes and get cover around whoever is on him one-to-one.

“So basically if Laudrup gets on the ball, make sure everyone is covering that player because he will go past him at some point.

“And then it was a case of everybody move across, leave your man, cover that area and hopefully he’ll pass the ball before he beats two or three of you.

“You want him picking the ball up as far away from your goal as possible.

“People talk about parking the bus and everybody getting behind the ball, you can do it when they receive the ball in their own half but when they're receiving the ball on your 18-yard box there’s not much space behind to park a bus.

“You had to be wary of when to tackle and not to tackle, to stand up, move your feet quickly, block him off, use your body, don’t let him get half a yard on you because he was really strong when using his upper body as well.

“He could manipulate the ball so his body was in between.

“Typical of what you tell young kids now as a coach to get your body in between the defender and the ball and Laudrup was a master of it.”
 

CrunchBear

Well-Known Member
“I remember my first game at Ibrox, I’m in the tunnel and Ally McCoist says to me, ‘Wee man, I’ll get you your ticket back to England after the game.’

“I said, ‘What for?’ “He said, ‘Because Brian’s going to f*****g torture you.’

B-)
 

Nightman

Well-Known Member
Most of the ex players there have noted his height and physique. Smaller players with dribbling skills, you might be able to get the better of them on your day. Laudrup had both, a 6ft 1 winger with pace and skill. Must have been a nightmare for the hammer throwers.
 

The Predator

Well-Known Member
“I remember my first game at Ibrox, I’m in the tunnel and Ally McCoist says to me, ‘Wee man, I’ll get you your ticket back to England after the game.’

“I said, ‘What for?’ “He said, ‘Because Brian’s going to f*****g torture you.’

B-)

Enjoyed that myself B-D
 

Steven

Well-Known Member
“I remember my first game at Ibrox, I’m in the tunnel and Ally McCoist says to me, ‘Wee man, I’ll get you your ticket back to England after the game.’

“I said, ‘What for?’ “He said, ‘Because Brian’s going to f*****g torture you.’
:)):)):))
 

Tommy48

Well-Known Member
In every Godrup thread I always say that when I heard the name Laudrup I thought Michael and was disappointed it was Brian. Then the first game against Motherwell he picked the ball up just inside our half and put the after burners on and I just thought bloody hell this is going to be fun.
 

Stanley

Well-Known Member
What a player. Laudrup in the 90’s was a phenomenon in his own right. I truly never expected to see another player like Slim Jim grace Ibrox but Brian really was world class and made the 90’s for me and NIAR. To think we had him and Gasgoigne in the same team. Sometimes I had to pinch myself because it was that good. Cause I’d been round the block when Laudrup came along I knew what sort of god we had purchased. And boy, he never let us down. It was a delight watching him. And the ’96 SCF was Laudrup’s Final. Thank goodness I’ve witnessed so many great players in our team.
 

stefanovitch

Well-Known Member
I remember back in the day Scotsport used to show small clips from goals across Europe.

Brian Laudrup was a regular scorer for Bayern Munich and I always thought I'd love Rangers to sign him - then we did and what a player he was!

I used to love watching Davie Cooper but Brian Laudrup was just in a class of his own.
 

Scaramanga

Well-Known Member
My biggest footballing hero, always will be. A lot of truth in those remarks too, he did often look like he was just gliding at speed when he was carrying the ball. Having a player who has pace and control that enables him to carry the ball from deep in his own half right to the opposition box is always a game changer; but so few can do it so players like him are gold dust.

0802377d-a26e-4fdf-b56b-dfe2c6427d3a.gif
 

CrunchBear

Well-Known Member
Just to echo the point for the younger bears. Brian Laudrup was absurdly good. I miss watching him play.

This was a team that dominated Scottish football, won 9 in a row. Had Gazza, McCoist, Gough et al in it. He wasn't just the best player in the team, he was the best player by a mile.
 

rayrangers

Well-Known Member
In every Godrup thread I always say that when I heard the name Laudrup I thought Michael and was disappointed it was Brian. Then the first game against Motherwell he picked the ball up just inside our half and put the after burners on and I just thought bloody hell this is going to be fun.
And assisted Duncan Ferguson for the winner
 

mcbeath1872

Well-Known Member
Nice to read those comments from fellow professionals.

Laudrup, for me, was the most complete attacking player I have seen play for Rangers. He had pace, power, balance, trickery, effortless technique and struck the ball beautifully.

Moreover, he was, in my view, the best attacking player that has played in Scotland since the formation of football here. In addition, I'd say he was one of the finest attacking players in the UK and in Europe during his career.

Lastly, for me, he was the superior talent to Gascoigne, and Gascoigne too was a fine player.
 
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Laudrup1

Well-Known Member
I remember back in the day Scotsport used to show small clips from goals across Europe.

Brian Laudrup was a regular scorer for Bayern Munich and I always thought I'd love Rangers to sign him - then we did and what a player he was!

I used to love watching Davie Cooper but Brian Laudrup was just in a class of his own.

My Dad and I were watching a game (think it was against the RoI towards the end of the 92/93 season) and he made a comment that he'd love us to sign "that guy Laudrup"

I'd have watched the 92 Euros so was aware of him but didn't register much until my Dad said that. I made a point of watching all the Fiorentina games on C4 after that and remember the last day of the season when they were battling to stay up but needed results elsewhere to go for them too. They battered Foggia and Laudrup ran them ragged and they were 4-0 up fairly quickly.

When he went to Milan that summer, I thought we'd no chance of getting him but then next summer happened. Will always remember my Old Man's comment way before we were linked with him given that Rangers only noticed him when Knox was away scouting Marc Reiper playing for Denmark.
 

Jan Wyck

Well-Known Member
We went to Kilmarnock one day and it was pissing down. Me and my mates tied up with my cousin and his pals, who lived in the town, in the pub pre match and a couple of them were Killie fans.
The rain was that bad that we thought the game might have been off, we made it out on the last train about 8.00pm that night before continuing torrential rain caused landslides to closed the line.
Anyway! One of the Killie fans, pre match, said that Laudrup wouldn't be able to run riot on that surface. I swear Brian used ball on the puddle strewn park like a kid stoning skimmers on a pond to get by defenders. He was beyond sublime. The Killie fan in the pub after the game was speechless. Shook his head in disbelief at Laudrup and our teasing.
 
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Thommo2006

Well-Known Member
Made me fall in love with the game I was about 12 when he cane to us and I was just getting into football would try and model my game on his, a player who you would pay the gate receipt just to watch.

Also the only man I'd turn gay for
 

CoplandRoad

Well-Known Member
“How come you are so good?”

The immortal Jim White line sums up the genius that was Brian Laudrup perfectly.

He was good enough to render a silver-tongued, super-slick presenter slack-jawed in wonderment.

The great Dane arrived at Rangers in the summer of 1994 from Fiorentina following a season spent on loan at the newly crowned European champions AC Milan.

He actually played seven times for I Rossoneri in the Champions League but never featured in the final when Fabio Capello’s side thumped Barcelona 4-0.

He was also a European Championship winner of course, and yes he could play a bit in Europe as Chick Young was ‘politely’ informed by Walter Smith.

His arrival in Govan wasn’t greeted in the same manner as Paul Gascoigne a year later but, in truth, it really should’ve been.

Scottish football was about to witness, arguably, the greatest ever player to grace these shores.

But what was it like to play against him? We tracked down five players who ran the gauntlet of the attacker's outstanding skillset.

JOHN PHILLIBEN - Ex-Motherwell
“My first recollection of Brian Laudrup was the opening day of the season 94/95 when we played at Ibrox and it was 1-1.

“We’d been playing for an hour with 10 men because Rab Shannon had got sent off early.

“We got a corner in the last minute of the game and Alex McLeish had sent everybody up to try and win the game.

“The ball got played into the box, it got headed clear to the edge of the box, Brian Laudrup picked it up and ran the full length of the field, slipped it into big Duncan Ferguson and he scored in the last minute to beat us 2-1.

“The other recollection was again at Ibrox and involved Jamie Dolan, God rest his soul.

“Brian Laudrup absolutely turned him inside out.

“He got to the byline went to cross, Jamie dived in to block the cross and Laudrup pulled it back, Jamie sprung up, Laudrup went to cross it again with his left foot, Jamie dived in, he pulled it back and then for the third time Laudrup went to cross it, Jamie’s dived in again and Laudrup then drifted past him.

“Honestly, Jamie got pelters for that after the game!

“The thing about Brian Laudrup is he was such a tall guy and the ability he had when he had the ball at his feet, running at you at pace, he was almost unplayable.

“He was an exceptional player.

“You knew you were going to be up against it when you played against him.

“When he signed for Rangers I think everybody knew he was a quality player having played in Italy.

“He was such an exceptional talent it was one of those things where on a Saturday morning if you knew you were playing and playing right-back and he was left-wing you were going to be in for a torrid time.

“Back in the day that would be the main aim to go and try and hit him early because you could tackle in those days.

“Go and give him a wee warning and say, ‘Look, if you’re going to give me a torrid time I’m going to try and catch you and make it a wee bit easier for myself.’ “But he was some player, he actually took a few hefty tackles but still got back up.”

BRIAN IRVINE - Ex-Aberdeen captain
“Thankfully he was never a through the middle guy, I was a centre back so it was more the full-backs like Stewart McKimmie who had to deal with him.

“But obviously he’d come into your area.

“It was a bit like Gascoigne, you just couldn’t get near him.

“You forget how good a player he was and how strong he made Rangers.

“When you played against someone like Laudrup you just knew it was going to be a tough game with his ability; it was almost as if the ball was stuck to his foot.

“People often use that as a cliche saying but it was so true with him.

“Wherever he moved the ball went with him and it was almost impossible to get the ball off him.

“If he tried to take you on there is a fair chance he was going to get by you.

“When you played against him you realised how special he was.

“Being as tall as he was, you didn’t expect that skill.

“If he moved from right to left without a ball that would be ok but he actually moved the ball with him and it stayed within his control.

“He didn’t knock the ball to the right or the left and you had to chase after it, it was literally stuck to his foot.

“In the winger positions you’d want a midfielder to go and help the full-back or one of the centre backs to double up to try and cover but invariably he’d just have two of you to beat so I don’t know what the answer was.

“If he was at his peak and at his best he basically was unstoppable.

“The only good thing was the last time I played against Brian was in the 9-in-a-row celebrations for Rangers in a Scottish League select or whatever it was in 2007.

“Thankfully most players you were up against like Mark Hateley for example, he wasn’t quite as dangerous as he had been in his day, obviously I wasn’t either because I’d retired but Brian was as good as he was when he was a player!

“He was a good down to earth opponent, he wasn’t somebody you thought was a big-headed guy at that, he was a nice guy."

COLIN MILLER - Ex-Hearts and Dunfermline

"Goodness me, for some reason, for every manager that I played for I had to do the man-marking jobs on him.

"You can imagine trying to pick Brian Laudrup up.

"In all the times that I played against him, he never shook my hand once.

"I went up to shake hands and he just walked past me.

"Maybe, because I tried to kick lumps out of him, I don't know.

"The first time I played against Laudrup was at Ibrox and I couldn't believe the size of him.

"He was possibly about six feet one but what a player he was for Rangers.

"If he got past you, you were never getting back to get another bite at him.”
Great read, thanks.
 

Grigo Yossarian

Well-Known Member
What a player. Laudrup in the 90’s was a phenomenon in his own right. I truly never expected to see another player like Slim Jim grace Ibrox but Brian really was world class and made the 90’s for me and NIAR. To think we had him and Gasgoigne in the same team. Sometimes I had to pinch myself because it was that good. Cause I’d been round the block when Laudrup came along I knew what sort of god we had purchased. And boy, he never let us down. It was a delight watching him. And the ’96 SCF was Laudrup’s Final. Thank goodness I’ve witnessed so many great players in our team.

Poor Gordon Durie. Scored a hat trick & still didn’t get MOTM LOL
 

Craigie

Well-Known Member
Sorry Craig, stopped reading at “the immortal Jim White”

Hope the rest of it was good.
In my defence, I didn't write the article but had you continued them saw the next word you'd have felt less dirty.
 
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Commander Bjorklund

Well-Known Member
A special, special player. Very few players could go past players the way he could, he just glided past multiple opponents at a time. Yes there’s players who are excellent at dribbling, use messi for example - watch him dribble, it’s quick and frantic with multiple touches and ultimately better. But the way Laudrup did it was effortless, a good comparison for another player who could glide past opponents was Kaka

https://images.app.goo.gl/rMqsk6DZPTm86KcJ6


Handsome as %^*& as well.
 

UlsterScotGer

Well-Known Member
My first memory of him was having to pick which day of the Ibrox International Tournament to travel up for as a 14 year old. Picked wrong as it turned out and got the legendary debut of Basile Boli instead of the great man.
 
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