Throughout the world there are certain families that are inextricably linked with their professions, The Kennedy family and The Bush family have been or were involved with American politics for a long, long time (perhaps too long in Bush’s case) However in the world of professional sports, it is often the individual that is praised, as often it is the individuals briliance or that of his team’s that elevates the man from mere mortal to God in the eyes of his clubs fans.
Yet, there are certain people in football, who’s story is worth telling as a whole, including their family. Especially when you consider the family. Here are the professional footballers who make up the Laudrup Family.
Finn Laudrup, Ebbs Skovdahl, Michael Laudrup, Brian Laudrup, Mads Laudrup, Andreas Laudrup & Nicolai Laudrup.
An incredible 7 in the one family, spanning 3 generations.
Finn was capped 19 times by Denmark, he played for Brondby and KB in his native land and also played in Austria for Wiener Sport Club (that is why Brian was born in Vienna) he married the sister of fellow professional Ebbe Skovdahl, Ebbe played for Vanlose and Brondby in a decent playing career, perhaps he Is Better known as a manager, he was in charge of Brondby on 3 separate occasions winning 4 Danish League titles, as well as managing Aberdeen and Portuguese giants Benfica. Both these men had good life’s out of football, but it was Finns sons (Ebbes nephews) that took the football world by storm.
Michael Laudrup was born June 15th 1964. He started his playing career at KB in Copenhagen and played 14 times in his debut season, he quickly moved onto Brondby where he was a stand out scoring 15 goals in his first season at the club and winning the 1982 Danish Footballer of the Year. He was beginning to get noticed and Liverpool made a bid, the deal was done and Laudrup was ready to sign, before Liverpool changed the contract from 3 to 4 years, Laudrup, showing great confidence walked away from the deal, unhappy that Liverpool changed the terms, a bold move for a young footballer as Liverpool were one of the world’s leading clubs. It didn’t take long though for Juventus to come along and he signed for around £1 million.
In Turin, Michael quickly discovered he was being sent out on loan to Lazio and he spent two seasons in Rome. He returned to Juve and in his first season won Serie A and The Intercontenental Cup in 1985-86. That season he was again awarded Danish Footballer Of The Year. In 1989 after six years in Italy, he decided that it was time for a change and moved to Barcelona, joining up with what would become known as “The Dream Team”. His time at Barcelona was sensational, winning four consecutive league titles, one Copa Del Ray and Two Spanish Super Cups. His crowning glory came with winning the 1992 European Cup. Barca again reached the 1994 European Cup final and much to everyones surprise, manager Johan Cruyff left Laudrup in the stands, a victim of the 3 foreigners rule. Without Laudrup Barcelona were crushed 4-0 against his brother’s AC Milan team. It was time for Michael to move on, his next destination…….Real Madrid.
He won the league title in his first season at Madrid, becoming the only man to win 5 titles in a row with 2 different clubs. While playing with Barcelona he played in the 5–0 victory over rivals Real Madrid in the 1993–94 season. The following season while playing for Real Madrid he aided in the revenge beating that Madrid gave Barça, the final score also being 5–0. He signed for japanese club Vissel Kobe and soon afterwards signed for Ajax where he won another league championship to call time on his wonderful career.
Brian Laudrup started out at Brondby (as they all seem to do!) and made almost an immediate impression winning two danish league titles in his first two seasons in football, halfway through his third season his contract ran out and he signed for Bayer Uerdingen in Germany but it wasn’t long before the giants of the game came calling, after only one season, in which he won the 1989 Danish Footballer Of The Year award, Bayern Munich signed him for DM6 Million making him the most expensive player in the Bundesliga at the time. He scored 9 goals in 33 games as Bayern finished 2nd in bundesliga, his performances were widely praised and influential German football magazine Kicker named him Forward of the Year. He picked up a bad injury only 5 games into the new season and missed much of his second year at Bayern, that summer his dream came true and he was off to Serie A. He signed for Fiorentina but it wasn’t to be a happy place for Brian as they were relegated to Serie B, he went on loan to AC Milan and featured sporadically, a victim of the 3 foreigner rule. In the 1994 European Cup Final both the Laudrup brothers watched from the stands as Brian’s AC hammered Michaels Barca 4-0.
Brian signed for Scottish Champions Rangers, and it was at Ibrox he found his footballing home, he won 3 Scottish League titles, a league cup and famously The Scottish Cup in what has become known as “The Laudrup Final”. Gordon Durie scored a hat trick that day, but it truly belonged to the maverick Laudrup. His time in Scotland saw him win another 2 Danish Player of the year awards to take his tally to a record four. He also won 2 Scottish Player of the year awards. He left for Chelsea in The summer of 1998 but failed to settle and after winning the UEFA Super Cup departed for Ajax via FC Copenhagen.
The brothers gained an incredible amount of international caps with Michael winning 104 and Brian 82. Brian was a part of Denmarks greatest ever achievement winning The European Championships in 1992, Michael didn’t participate after a falling out with the manager. At France 98 it was an international swansong for both of them and the world cup quarter final versus Brazil, in which Denmark pushed them all the way, narrowly losing 3-2 after a Laudrup brothers masterclass, was a fitting end of two terrific careers. Incredibly both of them were named in the FIFA All Star Team of the tournament.
The brothers have been recognised as two of footballs greatest players, they were both named on the FIFA 100 list of 125 greatest players. Brian was named as the greatest non Scotsman to ever play for Rangers in an award ceremony in 1999. Michael in particular has been inundated with accolades including being named the greatest foreigner to play in Spanish football the last 25 years (74-99) and Denmarks greatest ever player.
Brian now focuses on media work and runs a youth football camp in his native Denmark.
Michael went on to become a manager and in typical Laudrup style, he has succeeded, winning the Danish League once and two Danish Cups with Brondby, and guiding his current club Swansea City to the English League Cup at Wembley. The way his Swansea team have played has gained praised from all over and he is constantly being linked to jobs at some of the worlds biggest clubs. Although in true Laudrup fashion, his future will be decided by him and him alone.
Speaking of the future, Michael has two sons that are professional footballers Mads and Andreas. Both have been earmarked as potential stars with Andreas currently on loan at St-Etienne with a view to buying him, Mads is playing in Tue Danish first division with Hobro IK. Their cousin, Brian’s son Nicolai is also in the family businessost recently playing for Lyngby.
Its not often a family produces one world class player, producing two is exceptional. The Laudrups have proven themselves against the best football has to offer, and with Michael blossoming into the most sought after manager in football, who is to say the man Andres Iniesta calls “the greatest” won’t become an all time great in the dug out as well as the pitch. One thing is for sure….the Laudrups aren’t finished yet.