Brian LAUDRUP

Brian Laudrup - Rangers FC - Biography of his career at Rangers.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 13 August 1994

Click on image to enlarge

    • POSITION
      Forward
    • DATE OF BIRTH
      Saturday, 22 February 1969
    • PLACE OF BIRTH
      Vienna, Austria
  • CLUBS
  • Chelsea FC
    • Club Career Dates
      1998
    • 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
      1994-1998
    • 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 - Rangers FC - Biography of his career at Rangers.

Part of a footballing dynasty that included his father Finn and older brother Michael, Brian Laudrup is arguably the finest overseas player ever to don a Rangers jersey.

He joined in July 1994 for around £3.5 million and was paraded at the same press conference as Rangers' other close season recruit, the European Cup winning centre-half Basile Boli. Ironically, Boli was perceived to be the blue chip signing, but both players would enjoy distinctly different spells in Glasgow, with Boli flopping dramatically, whilst Laudrup thrived under the management of Walter Smith.

Laudrup boasted a fine CV. He could list Brondby, Bayer Uerdingen, Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and AC Milan as previous employers, and he was also part of the Denmark side that stunned European football by winning the European Championships in 1992. When he arrived in Glasgow, though, his career was in dire need of resuscitation after a tortuous spell in Italy when his undoubted talents had been stifled by the defensive formations that most Serie A sides prefer to employ. Astutely noticing that Laudrup had to be free from the shackles that go hand in hand with such tactics, Walter Smith gave the Dane a 'free' role within his team, allowing him to roam freely around the pitch and showcase all of the skills that he possessed in his repertoire. The result was instant and devastating.

On Brian's league debut for Rangers against Motherwell at the start of the 1994/95 season (the photo above is during the game), the scores were tied at 1-1 as the contest entered its dying embers. Motherwell won a corner kick, but the ball was cleared to the edge of the Rangers penalty area and picked up by Laudrup. He proceeded to embark on a thrusting diagonal run from the right that carried him through the heart of the Motherwell defence and to the edge of the Motherwell 18-yard box. He then slipped a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Duncan Ferguson who shot home the winning goal. It was a breathtaking introduction, and proved to be the first of many flashes of individual brilliance during the Dane's four-year stay in Glasgow.

Laudrup's game was marked out by his excellent technical ability. A wonderful dribbler, he also possessed a frightening turn of pace and he was electrifying over the first five yards, often leaving a series of defenders trailing in his wake. His size and stature - he stood 6ft tall and tipped the scales at thirteen stone - made it difficult for opposing players to knock him off the ball, and he used his body strength to great effect, as it made it easier to evade the robust treatment that tends to be dished out to players of his ilk. Laudrup was also an excellent crosser of the ball and his accurate delivery into the penalty area added a new dimension to the Rangers attack.

It was perhaps his eye for the killer pass that saw him viewed as being more of a creator rather than a scorer of goals, but in his first season in Scotland, Brian netted thirteen goals in thirty-eight appearances. He often assumed the goal-scoring mantle from the likes of McCoist, Hateley and Durie when the trio were absent from the team through injury at various junctures of the season, and his goal-scoring return coupled with innumerable match-winning displays earned Laudrup both the Scottish Football Writers' and Scottish PFA Player of the Year awards for 1994/95. (Alistair Aird, Author of Ally McCoist - Portrait of a Hero)

 Brian Laudrop is pictured above playing for Glasgow Rangers on 2nd. January 1998. Photo Nigel French  .©  G.H.

 

 

A troublesome ankle injury dogged Brian for much of the 1995/96 season, but he still managed to make thirty-three appearances and score six goals. And it was in the last of those matches, the Scottish Cup Final against Hearts, that Laudrup turned in his finest performance in a Light Blue jersey. Over the course of a devastating ninety minutes, Brian tortured Hearts and their young defender Alan McManus in particular, as Rangers romped to a 5-1 victory. Laudrup was at his dazzling best and he was involved in all five of Rangers' goals, scoring the first two and then teeing up a hat-trick for Gordon Durie.

Laudrup's third season at Ibrox was one of the most historic campaigns in the club's distinguished history. Rangers won the Championship for a ninth successive season, equalling the feat of their archrivals Celtic, who completed nine-in-a-row under the management of Jock Stein between 1966 and 1974. Laudrup was at the peak of his powers over the course of the season, missing just three league matches and scoring seventeen goals. Some of his strikes were important too, none more so than his two winning goals in the two league matches against Celtic at Parkhead and the one that eventually clinched the title at Tannadice on May 7. Rangers travelled to face Dundee United in their penultimate league fixture in the knowledge that a victory would secure the coveted ninth title, and Laudrup proved to be the hero of the hour. Charlie Miller took advantage of a quick throw-in and arrowed a left foot cross into the penalty area from the left wing. Rising to meet the ball on the penalty spot was Laudrup, and the Dane powered a rare header into the roof of the net to secure the coveted ninth title. The goal was a fitting end to yet another vintage season for Brian, and his contribution was recognised when he became one of only a handful of players who have been named Scottish Footballer of the Year twice.

His momentous contribution at Tannadice appeared to be Laudrup's parting gift to the Rangers supporters, with a £5 million move to Ajax mooted in the summer of 1997, but he was persuaded to stay at Ibrox and spearhead the push for a tenth successive title. Appointed captain following the departure of Richard Gough, Laudrup's Rangers started promisingly, and were unbeaten in their first eight league matches. However, the campaign began to unravel after early exits from the Champions League, UEFA Cup and the Scottish League Cup, and Rangers eventually finished as runners-up to Celtic. In what turned out to be Brian's last outing in a Rangers jersey, Hearts ensured that the season would end without a trophy when they won the Scottish Cup Final by two goals to one.

In truth, Laudrup's last season in Glasgow was a massive disappointment, but it failed to taint the memories of the three wonderful campaigns that preceded it. Out of contract in the summer of 1998, Brian joined Chelsea on a free transfer. After a shorter than expected stay in London, he returned home to play for FC Copenhagen before eventually joining Ajax. He was forced to retire from playing through injury in 2000 at the age of 31.

Brian Laudrup played a total of 151 games for Rangers and scored 45 goals. He won three league titles, one Scottish League Cup and one Scottish Cup. His place in the pantheon of Rangers greats is secure, and it was no surprise when he was one of the first players to be inducted into the Club's Hall of Fame when it was inaugurated in 2000. (Alistair Aird, Author of Ally McCoist - Portrait of a Hero)