Brian Laudrup - Chelsea FC - Biography 1998/99

Photo/Foto: Nigel French

Date: 25 October 1998

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      Saturday, 22 February 1969
      Vienna, Austria
  • Denmark
  • Chelsea FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Wednesday, 9th September 1998 in a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal (Aged: 29)
    • Club Career
      5 League apps (+2 as sub), 0 goals
  • Rangers FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 13th August 1994 in a 2-1 win at home to Motherwell (Aged: 25)
    • Club Career
      114 League apps (+2 as sub), 34 goals
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Brian LAUDRUP - Chelsea FC - Biography 1998/99


Many observers felt that the signing of Danish international Brian Laudrup in the summer of 1998 would be the final piece in the Chelsea jigsaw as Gianluca Vialli sought to propel his multi-talented, multi-national squad to the Premiership title. Recruited on a Bosman free transfer from Glasgow Rangers at the end of a hugely impressive four-year spell north of the border in which he had twice been voted Scotland's Player of the Year, the stylish striker joined The Blues just prior to that summer's World Cup finals. He was unfit as the new season began but was able to make his debut as a late replacement for Gianfranco Zola in Monaco as Chelsea beat Real Madrid to lift the European Super Cup, and his Premiership debut came in The Blues' next game, a 0-0 draw with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. Laudrup was selected for the team which faced Norwegian side Helsingborgs as the Londoners began the defence of their European Cup Winners Cup title, and earned the free-kick from which Frank Leboeuf scored the only goal of the tie, but his overall performance against weak opposition was disappointing and a tendency to go to ground rather easily earned him the wrath of his own supporters.


He was amongst the substitutes for Chelsea's next game, away at Blackburn, but was called into action in the 70th minute and performed superbly on the right wing for the final twenty minutes, creating one of fellow substitute Tore Andre Flo's two late goals which earned a 4-3 win. Laudrup was back in the starting line-up for the following weekend's visit of Middlesbrough and it was his run and cross which led to Boro's Gary Pallister heading past his own keeper to give The Blues the lead in what was eventually a 2-0 triumph. However, Laudrup's after-match comments about manager Vialli's squad rotation policy gave an indication that all was not well and although he retained his place in the starting line-up for the next three games, he was largely ineffective. His sixth, and final, appearance at Stamford Bridge came in the second round of the ECWC when Chelsea faced FC Copenhagen, and he was again subjected to some criticism from the home supporters for a lacklustre performance and further displays of theatrical behaviour in the final third of the pitch.


This did not deter Copenhagen however, and a week later came the bizarre announcement that Brian Laudrup would be leaving London to return to his homeland after the second leg of the ECWC tie between his current club and his new club. To confuse matters further, Bjarne Goldbaek, Copenhagen's goal scorer in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, would join Chelsea as a makeweight in the deal, the precise details of which were never disclosed. In an incredible twist of fate, Laudrup headed the only goal of the game to send Chelsea through, after which he returned to Denmark only to get itchy feet again eight months later when he moved to Holland to join Ajax. By leaving Copenhagen he became technically a Chelsea player again and the Dutch side were required to pay The Blues £1.7 million compensation in order to secure his release from Stamford Bridge. (Kelvin Barker)