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RANGERS legend Brian Laudrup today revealed how his transfer to the Ibrox club 20 years ago today rescued his foundering career.






Danish internationalist Laudrup put pen to paper with the Glasgow giants in a £2.5million deal back on July 21, 1994.


The winger went on to enjoy enormous success over the next four years and helped Walter Smith's side to complete nine-in-a-row.


He won the Scottish title three times, the League Cup once and the Scottish Cup once, and was also named SFWA Player of the Year twice.


The skilful attacker is now widely considered by supporters to be one of the greatest-ever players in the 142-year history of Rangers.


But the 45-year-old has recalled how his playing days were in freefall over in Italy where he had endured unhappy spells with Fiorentina and then AC Milan.


And he has told how his father - former Denmark star Finn - had warned him that the transfer to Scotland HAD to work out if he was to revive his career.


In an exclusive interview with SportTimes, he said: "I can remember a conversation I had with my father at the time I was going to sign for Rangers.


"He said to me: 'Brian, this is going to be the most important switch in your career. This move has got to be a success for you'.


"Up until then, I had been at Bayern Uerdingen in Germany for one year, Bayern Munich for two years, Fiorentina for one year and AC Milan for one year.


"My father told me: 'If you want to be a successful player then you can't be finding a new club every season. You need to find a club and stay there'.


"Rangers was that club. Joining Rangers turned out to be the best move of my career. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was very successful for me and very successful for my family.


"It was the best four years of my career in terms of playing and the best in terms of my private life. I was happy in Scotland on the park and my family and I were very happy off it."


This week in SportTimes Laudrup looks back on the circumstances that resulted in him agreeing to sign for Rangers 20 years ago.


He reveals how he realised it would be the correct decision just a few minutes after meeting manager Smith for talks at Cameron House Hotel.


And the Scandinavian, now a television pundit in his homeland, also tells of his distress at the off-field difficulties the 54-times Scottish champions have experienced in the last two years.



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Glasgow was smiles better for Laudrup as he signed for Rangers


A HOST a major European clubs were soon keen to sign up Brian Laudrup after it emerged he was looking to leave Italy in the summer of 1994.





Despite his unhappiness at Serie A giants AC Milan - where he had been on loan from Fiorentina - he had still performed with all of his usual professionalism.


And the Dane played for the San Siro club on no fewer than seven occasions during their triumphant Champions League campaign the previous season.


So it was no surprise that many of the top clubs on the continent started to eye the former Brondby, Bayer Uerdingen and Bayern Munich midfielder covetously.


The chances of Rangers, despite their dominance of Scottish football around that time, landing the highly-prized player appeared slender.


Yet Laudrup decided that joining the Ibrox club was the right move for him - after spending just a few minutes in the company of manager Walter Smith.


The winger, a free spirit on the pitch, had never felt entirely comfortable during his time in the ultra-defensive Italian top flight and felt he needed to revive his ailing career.


Listening to Smith speak in a private room at Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond, it soon became apparent to the player that he would be able to rediscover his love of the beautiful game in Scotland.


"Walter told me exactly why he wanted to bring me to Rangers," said Laudrup.


"He told me what his ideas were and where he wanted to play me.


"He told me that he wanted to give me the freedom to play wherever I wanted to play on the park. I immediately bonded very well with Walter.


"As he talked, I started to think that joining Rangers would be a good move for me. You have to consider that over in Italy I was playing in a very restricted role on the right side of midfield.


"So when I heard Walter say that I was going to be given freedom to express myself I was sold. I decided there and then that it was the right move for me."


Laudrup had fulfilled a long-held ambition when he signed for Fiorentina after helping Denmark to win the European Championship in Sweden two years earlier.


However, the old adage "be careful what you wish for" proved to be accurate; he was thoroughly miserable both professionally on the park and personally off of it.


"I had two difficult years in Italy," he said. "It had always been a dream of mine to play there. I used to go over there to visit my brother Michael when he played for Lazio and Juventus and going there was attractive to me.


"In those days, to play in Italy was considered to be the ultimate for any professional footballer. Serie A was the best league in the world.


"I won the European Championship with Denmark in 1992 and got my move to Fiorentina.


"I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a nightmare. In terms of gaining experience, it was definitely beneficial. But what I learned from that time was that I was restricted on the pitch and the style of football did not suit me.


"People in the south of Italy can also be very emotional. Sometimes football is like life or death to them.


"It was difficult at times for both myself and for my family to deal with that."


HE ADDED: "I have always been somebody who wanted to have a life outside the game. I wanted to be a normal person off the pitch. That was very, very difficult in Italy.


"Fiorentina were relegated to Serie B in my season there. It was a major blow. We had a fantastic team in my opinion. But we had two or three new coaches in my time there and there was a lot of upheaval and unrest.


"I ended up going out on loan to AC Milan. I played for them in their run to the Champions League final, but I still just didn't enjoy my football. Towards the end of the season I hadn't been playing as much as I would have liked.


"A lot of clubs were interested in signing me. But only on loan. I was only interested in talking to a club who wanted to sign me permanently and where I could play for two or three years. That is when the move to Rangers came about."


When news of the Scottish champions' interest in him filtered back to Laudrup, he agreed to jet over to Glasgow to hear what they had to say.


"I didn't know much about Rangers at the time," he admitted. "I had seen them playing in Europe and knew some of their players.


"But I wasn't aware of just how big a club they were. I flew in and was greeted at Glasgow Airport by John Greig. He took me to Ibrox and showed me around the stadium. From there, we went in his car to Cameron House.


"I met Walter and pretty much decided there and then that it was the right move for me. After that, everything was sorted out very quickly. A deal was agreed and signed within two or three days. I was on my way to Scotland."


The rest is history.



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Rangers cup hero Kai was go-between


BRIAN Laudrup was by no means the first great Dane to wow Rangers fans with his sublime skills.





Three decades before the winger lit up Ibrox with his mesmerising trickery, right-back Kai Johansen wrote his name into the club's history books with a stunning 25-yard strike that was the only goal of the 1966 Scottish Cup final replay against Celtic.


Many years later, long after he had hung up his boots, Johansen performed another act for the Ibrox club that was every bit as significant. In the summer of 1994 he acted as a go-between for the Scottish champions after manager Walter Smith targeted Kai's fellow-Dane Laudrup, then 25.


At that time the classy wide player was officially a Fiorentina player but was on loan at AC Milan and far from happy.


Johansen, who had returned to Glasgow and become a businessman after retiring from football, got in touch with Brian's father Finn, a former Danish internationalist, over in his homeland.


His long-distance phone call set in motion a chain of events that would culminate in Laudrup agreeing to a £2.5million transfer to the Scottish giants.


Laudrup said: "The first I heard of Rangers' interest in me was after Kai Johansen got in touch with my father.


"He told him Rangers were very keen on signing me and wanted to speak to me.


"I came back from training with AC Milan one day and my father called.


"He said to me: 'I have just spoken to this guy over in Scotland. Rangers are interested in signing you.'


"The whole thing just grew from there."



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Aye, the type of player we will never see again in a Rangers jersey!


I'd never say never.


For example, we didn't see enough of him due to the events of 2012 but Sone Aluko looked like he could have went on to really excite the fans for many years. Yes, he wasn't as gifted as Laudrup but he was a cracking wee player to watch.

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You can't compare Aluko or McLeod to Laudrup though, the man was genius with the ball at the very top level of football, I'll stick with never,especially with the way our club is run these days.

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I'd never say never.


For example, we didn't see enough of him due to the events of 2012 but Sone Aluko looked like he could have went on to really excite the fans for many years. Yes, he wasn't as gifted as Laudrup but he was a cracking wee player to watch.


Never say never....I've just watched Lewis McLeod score the kind of goal Laudrup would be proud of (courtesy of yourself).


Glass half full loyal :-)

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