I'm doing something at the minute that gave me cause to read up on players like Laudrup from the perspective of fellow pros, coaches and managers. What strikes me is that he was revered as the best many had seen or played with, but his desire to be the best he could be was seriously lacking for his time at the top. A Hazard before Hazard, if you will. Look at these comments from no less than Johan Cruyff: "One of the most difficult players I have worked with. When he gives 80–90% he is still by far the best, but I want 100%, and he rarely does that." (After Real Madrid with Laudrup had won 5–0 over Cruyff's Barcelona): "When Michael plays like a dream, a magic illusion, determined to show his new team his extreme abilities, no one in the world comes anywhere near his level." "Had Michael been born in a poor ghetto in Brazil or Argentina with the ball being his only way out of poverty he would today be recognised as the biggest genius of the game ever. He had all the abilities to reach it but lacked this ghetto-instinct, which could have driven him there." Michel Platini: "One of the biggest talents ever. The best in the world on the training pitch, but never used his talent to its fullest during matches." "Michael had everything except for one thing: he wasn't selfish enough." Romario: Romário: "The best player I have ever played with and the 4th best in the history of the game." Messi: Lionel Messi: "I fully understand why he is considered one of the best players in Barcelona's history and even the world." Stoichkov: "One of the best European players I've ever seen. An elegant, old-fashioned playmaker, he did things few other footballers could do." "From more than hundred goals that I scored I'm sure that over 50 were assisted by Michael. To play with him was extremely easy. We found each other by intuition on the field and found common football language. Look at Ivan Zamorano. Laudrup went there (Real) and Zamorano is a goalscorer. Sometimes I envy Ivan for the passes he receives. Passes on foot after you accelerated. Few people understand football like the Danish player. He can only be comprised with Maradona, Schuster or Roberto Baggio. They make things easy and find the right solutions. For them is simple, for the opponent – unthinkable. Phenomenal! His only problem is his character. He is emotional and terribly reserved. This affects him a lot, because he takes everything personally – no matter if someone tells him something or decision that he does not agree. His relations with Cruyff were delicate because he couldn't take the critics. I listen to him but I don't care that much. For Michael this was fatal. He couldn't take it anymore so he left without a word." "Laudrup was the greatest." These same criticisms apply to him as a manager - the moment he felt pressure, he was off. So, how much did Laudrup's character hold him back? If you saw him play, you'd have no doubt he had the ability to be *the* player of his generation, and yet, when the era is talked about, Laudrup is not mentioned before a host of players who, it would be fair to say, maximised their potential and played to their absolute best. Is Laudrup the biggest case of 'wasted top level' there has been, or does anybody top him? Is his mental/emotional flaw/sensitivity part of what made him such an attuned play-maker i.e. you can't have the genial part of his game without the torment? Let's talk about Laudrup!