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The enigma that is Michael Laudrup

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by Fortitude, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. Feb 20, 2018
    #1

    Fortitude TV/Monitor Expert Scout

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    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."[82]
    • (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."[79]
    • "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."[83]
    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."[79]
    • "Michael had everything except for one thing: he wasn't selfish enough."[30]
    Romario:

    • Romário: "The best player I have ever played with and the 4th best in the history of the game."[32]
    Messi:

    • Lionel Messi: "I fully understand why he is considered one of the best players in Barcelona's history and even the world."[81]
    Stoichkov:

    • "One of the best European players I've ever seen. An elegant, old-fashioned playmaker, he did things few other footballers could do."[86]
    • "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."[87]
    • "Laudrup was the greatest."[88]

    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! ;)
  2. Feb 20, 2018
    #2

    Fortitude TV/Monitor Expert Scout

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    Here's some Laudrup:







  3. Feb 20, 2018
    #3

    VP89 Pogba's biggest fan

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    Before my time sadly.
  4. Feb 20, 2018
    #4

    ROFLUTION Full Member

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    One of my favorite players of all time - I would definitely not say he was wasted though, but there might have been 10% more in him. Won and won and won again with Barca and Real Madrid.

    Stoichkov's comments are very Stoichkov - He's more rash than Laudrup and maybe that's why he cannot fully understand why he is not more like him.

    I always thought of that side of his character as a good thing. Laudrup has always been very measured and mature, making him a true "grown up" in my eyes.
    Someone to look up to, who doesn't just talk shit but you actually listen to when he has something to say - I can rarely remember he has said something, that I didn't found interesting.

    At the same time this "calm" temper he had, also maybe cost him the last 10% - but at the same time his calmness in the moment of passing is also why he was so good.

    Watching him play it felt like he had an overview and an angle that no-one else had and maybe never will get. He had eyes in the back of his neck.

    Here is a great art-documentary by danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth, where he studies his person. Its more a view into the character Laudrup than it is a compilation of goals.

  5. Feb 20, 2018
    #5

    André Dominguez Full Member

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    My favourite player of all times. His passing ability was just something that I will not see another player to reach his level.

    And I can confirm what those managers and ex-players said: You could see his lack of motivation undermined his career.
  6. Feb 20, 2018
    #6

    ROFLUTION Full Member

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    I'm probably a bit biased because i like Laudrup so much, but Cruyff's break up with Laudrup is always seen as a character flaw in Laudrup - But to me the way he just went to Real Madrid, won the league and demolished Barcelona tells me Cruyff might have been the wrong one.
  7. Feb 20, 2018
    #7

    ROFLUTION Full Member

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    I always felt he could be a great coach too and feel a bit sad that he has not been more ambitious in this regard. Took Getafe and Swansea to great heights, before vanishing.

    Went for money as a coach in Qatar - A big letdown. The man is capable of much more, but maybe he just wants to enjoy his life after football more than a hunger to win at managerial level.
  8. Feb 20, 2018
    #8

    11101 Full Member

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    I remember him from whatever the TV highlights show was called on Sky back in the day. He was perfect for that show, when he was on it he was utterly brilliant but he was what you'd call a fair weather player.

    His brother wasn't bad either.
  9. Feb 20, 2018
    #9

    Fortitude TV/Monitor Expert Scout

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    But Cruyff wanted him to realise all of his blatant potential not just enough of it to be what he's remembered as. I also think Cruyff's presence and personality was too overbearing for such a tender player. Cruyff would've been even sterner with him as a team-mate as he was notorious for it.

    I found the quotes of Platini, who said similar of Zidane, very interesting, too.

    At the tier of Platini and Cruyff absolutely every character flaw is held to scrutiny and it's precisely Laudrup's inability to handle that that caused him to be regarded as he is rather than could/should have been.
  10. Feb 20, 2018
    #10

    Basso New Member

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    Andres Iniesta - "Who is the best player in history? Michael Laudrup."

    Luis Figo - "I think maybe Laudrup was the best player I ever played against."

    Pep Guardiola - "The best player in the world, I can't believe he hasn't won the title as best player."

    David Silva - " He was my boyhood when i grew up, 'I was transfixed watching him play, and I liked his personality too and so for me, he was a real example.

    Michu - " Playing for Michael Laudrup is an amazing experience. He was one of my idols when I was growing up. When he joins in the training session you can see he is a much better play than we are"

    Laudrup was enjoying dinner with a friend and discussing retiring, Sat a couple of tables away was King Juan Carlos I Spain’s King wandered over. “That’s good news,” he said in Laudrup’s ear. “I’ll be the only King in Madrid again.”
  11. Feb 20, 2018
    #11

    horsechoker Sailor vee, this is a right off.

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    Reading a biography of Laudrup where it says his Dad was a diva in contrast to Michael who was very calm, mature and trained very hard. Although the author may have written that because Michael's parents refused to participate in the book.
  12. Feb 20, 2018
    #12

    ThomasEmil Invisible Herrera Watcher

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    IF he only he had the chance to connect with Lord Bendtner on the national team...
  13. Feb 20, 2018
    #13

    Raees Boing Boing Baggies

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    Did his character hold him back to an extent, yes of course - all those criticisms are valid.

    A player with a more laid back approach to the game is definitely going to struggle in comparisons against guys like Pele, Maradona, Messi who had arguably more talent but more aggressive personalities which made them combine talent, will to win, doing things at pace yet still being able to retain their cool in pressure situations.

    That said, Laudrup's nonchalant brilliance looks so cool, because of that slightly laid back nature and if he was all aggressive, he would have lost that slightly alienesque artistic vibe he gives off.. his elegance wouldn't quite be the same due to him having to be that tad more aggressive.

    I also feel forcing it from such a player never works and that is the coaches fault, they didn't motivate him in the right way. Appealing to his more animal instincts and will to win was futile, because he could see through it and knew essentially, football is just a game and therefore trying to push him really hard and going Roy Keane with him, is just not understanding what makes him tick. Every player is different, and I think if managers were more open minded and saw his nonchalance as an asset, rather than as a flaw.. they could have built a team which has more aggressive support cast (which compensates for his more cool nature).. similar to the dream team (Romario/Stoichkov provide the aggression) or Ozil in the German team (versus say at Arsenal where everyone is laid back and it leads to lack of success).

    Cruyff whether by luck of judgement had a really good trio there, and it suited Laudrup. Those personalities meshed well and tactically they all meshed well too. As long as you combine more aggressive direct players with say a nonchalant artiste playmaking type, you should be able to extract the best out of all of them.
  14. Feb 20, 2018
    #14

    Fortitude TV/Monitor Expert Scout

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    @Raees well it lends itself to the question of how that "last drop" can be extracted from such personality types to make them more than they end up being, or, is their own intelligence and intuitive nature an inescapable ceiling for them?

    If you're smart enough to see through motivational rouses then you have to be your own motivation and coach.

    In terms of intelligence quotient, Di Stefano, Beckenbauer and Cruyff were 'uncoachable' as in, they went along only with what they agreed with and adapted or modified the rest as they saw fit. The onus was on Laudrup to do the same. Cruyff would've loved such defiance by the way.

    Re. That languid style I think Beckenbauer is the pinnacle of it, difference being he could switch to combative competitor as the situation required.
  15. Feb 20, 2018
    #15

    Raees Boing Boing Baggies

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    Thing is those guys might be uncoachable, but they're super competitive and they loved the game.. their passion was undeniable. I am sure all players want to win, but it is natural to have varying rates of will to win.

    I think with guys like Laudrup whose will to win or 'testosterone' element is low, you can either decide to bin him off for not being the sort of character you identify with or not suited for your side, or you can acknowledge that is just the way he is, and try to build a team around these personality defects knowing full well his attributes alone are enough to warrant doing so. If you do it well, whilst individually he isn't quite hitting the heights he could with that aggression, you can still turn him into a very productive footballer by combining him with the sort of characters he isn't. It is about building the right platform around him.

    A team full of Laudrups, would be beautiful but spineless.. but in a battle-hardened side, he could be allowed to flourish and do things his own way, but you know if he's having an off day or not fighting, the structure of the team is solid and all it takes is a moment of genius from him to unlock the opposition defence.

    I think it is very hard to get that extra last drop out of these type of characters. You have to maybe challenge them using intellectual exercises or technical challenges, rather than turning them into fighters. Deep down you'll have to accept though, that you'll never get that full extraction of talent.. they will never be the complete footballer.
  16. Feb 20, 2018
    #16

    Andeva New Member

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  17. Feb 20, 2018
    #17

    balaks Full Member

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    Sublime player.
  18. Feb 20, 2018
    #18

    Demyanenko_square_jaw Full Member

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    Laudrup was a monster and maybe could have been even greater with a more single minded, ambitious personality, but to be fair to him he accomplished more than most of the other European attacking midfielders of the 80s/90s that also had great talent. So many seemed to have less than great dedication/ professionalism or have really bad luck with injuries.
  19. Feb 20, 2018
    #19

    Snow Somewhere down the lane, a licky boom boom down

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    Before Cantona and Manchester United, for me there was Romario, Baggio and the Laudrups. I think only Zidane is comparable since his retirement. Look at De Bruyne now, Laudrup was better.

    I remember being glad that he left Madrid. I cheered for Barcelona at the time because of their players but when Laudrup was left out of the final I was one angry kid. I was glad that they got demolished and glad that he left. Capello couldn't believe his luck when he saw that Laudrup was absent.
  20. Feb 20, 2018
    #20

    B20 HALA MADRID!

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    In terms of impact and stature on a league, Laudrup in la liga was similar to Henry in England.

    The fact that many think he never truly delivered on his potential speaks volumes about his top level.
  21. Feb 20, 2018
    #21

    Hansa Full Member

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    Didn't get to see much of him at club level, so can't really comment on his day-to-day performances, but he was brilliant for that star-studded, exciting Danish NT of the mid-80s. His goal against Uruguay in Mexico '86 summed him up. Calmness, composure and control.
  22. Feb 20, 2018
    #22

    BeforeKeanetherewasRobson Full Member

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    Miles better than Hazard.

    I'm assuming @Ecstatic is calming himself down (after seeing Laudrup compared to Hazard) before commenting. Until he recovers.....



  23. Feb 20, 2018
    #23

    Karel Podolsky New Member

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    Did Stoichkov say Zamorano was an average player?
  24. Feb 20, 2018
    #24

    Jaybomb Banned

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    A shame that he never played for us during the 90s. Probably the most non-United “United player” ever.

    Schmeichel
    Parker Bruce Pallister Irwin
    Kanchelskis Ince Keane Giggs
    Laudrup
    Cantona

    We would have dominated Europe during that period. But it all worked out in the end :)
  25. Feb 20, 2018
    #25

    Raees Boing Boing Baggies

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  26. Feb 20, 2018
    #26

    Jaap Full Member

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    A poor man's Andres Iniesta.
  27. Feb 20, 2018
    #27

    Denis79 Full Member

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    He was a fantistic footballer, I'll never forget how good him Romario and Stoichkov were together. I wonder what the outcome would have been with him in the Danish squad in the 92 Euros.
  28. Feb 20, 2018
    #28

    Rob Full Member

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    My favorite player of all time. The pass to Sand against Nigeria at the World Cup 98’ was just:drool:
  29. Feb 20, 2018
    #29

    Shez Full Member

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  30. Feb 20, 2018
    #30

    Jaap Full Member

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    Perhaps the same? ;)
  31. Feb 20, 2018
    #31

    Denis79 Full Member

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    Maybe but they actually played worse with him in the team as I remember it, they tried so hard to build the team around him but never managed to, little brother Brian was a better fit than Michael for the national team. Not the same position I know just interesting that the "lesser brother" had more success.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  32. Feb 20, 2018
    #32

    BeforeKeanetherewasRobson Full Member

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    Nice finish too?
  33. Feb 20, 2018
    #33

    paulscholes18 Full Member

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    Great player. Trouble is, the best thing he ever did was something he didn’t do, and that was not going to Euro 92
  34. Feb 20, 2018
    #34

    Rob Full Member

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    Clinical finish, yes.
  35. Feb 20, 2018
    #35

    Arbitrium Full Member

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    the real hero here is that HeilRJ guy who makes those compilations.
  36. Feb 21, 2018
    #36

    Leif GW New Member

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    His vision is among the very best ever. Just a beautiful footballer.
  37. Feb 21, 2018
    #37

    Chipper Full Member

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    A player I somehow managed to almost completely miss yet am well aware of his reputation.

    He'd left Italy 3 years before Football Italia had started on Channel 4 in the UK. I'm not sure Spanish football was shown, or if it was then shown that often on Sky when he was over there. Regardless, I didn't have access to Sky until around the time he'd moved to Madrid and I wasn't watching it then even if it was on. Of course, he'd just left Barcelona for Madrid when United drew Barcelona in the Champions League in 94/95 so that was a potential opportunity to see him missed.

    For some reason I had no memory of him playing in the Cup Winners' Cup Final of '91 and just had to Google it to see if he played. My only other chances to see him will have been in World Cups and Euros and I don't remember him doing much in those.

    Edit: I'd forgotten I also watched him in the 92 European Cup Final, Sampdoria v Bareclona. One of many low-scoring finals from that period and I don't remember him doing much of note.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  38. Feb 21, 2018
    #38

    Halds New Member

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    I think it's a valid point, that Laudrup never fulfilled his true potential. He has shown several times, that he could not be pressured. Before he went from Denmark to Italy he was on the brink of signing for Liverpool as a teenager in '83, but the deal went off, because Liverpool wanted a year more, than they had initially agreed, so he walked away.

    Cruyff tried to put pressure on him on the field. And off the field, when he famously benched him in the '94 EC final, when he hadn't signed a contract extension. He walked away there too. And he walked away from the danish team, when he was in disagreement with the coach, who later led Denmark to succes in the European championships.

    He did it throughout his managerial career too. When the going got tough, and he didn't get it his way, he walked.

    But even though he probably could have been better, if he had more hunger, he was the player I have seen with the best combined vision and passing abilities. He was simply outstanding in that area. And he was so gracious with the ball at his feet. Gliding effortless past opponents before laying a perfect pass, that nobody else had seen.

    He couldn't tackle, and he couldn't head, but he was amazing at what he did. One of the greats imo. Not Maradona, Cruyff, Messi level, but definitely in the tier just below imo.
  39. Feb 21, 2018
    #39

    kaempen New Member

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    Laudrup is considered greater than Iniesta and Xavi by many.
  40. Feb 21, 2018
    #40

    goons New Member

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    Some people don't realize just how good and talented he really was. He is my dream midfielder. For me he is up there with the best players of all time.