Laudrup's special Spanish moments
27th November 2013
As the Swans prepare to take on Valencia in the Europa League, Jack Magazine brings you a special insight into boss Michael Laudrup's playing days at two of world football's biggest clubs.
The Great Dane was a massive hit at Barcelona and then Real Madrid, winning five league titles during his time in Spain.
A legend at both clubs and regarded among the best players to have worn their shirts, Laudrup famously helped Barcelona to a 5-0 El Clasico win over their rivals before moving to Real Madrid the following season and avenging that defeat by leading them to a 5-0 victory.
In Thursday night's Jack Magazine - our official matchday programme - we include a section from Sid Lowe's book Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid, which focuses on the Great Dane's impact during those matches.
You can read the full extract in Thursday's Jack Magazine, available around the ground and online,plus Slee Stores in Plasmarl, Coggers on Wind Street and Browns Newsagent in Landore.
The final whistle goes on the first derbi of the 1994-5 season and a huge roar travels round the Santiago Bernabéu. The scoreboard says: Real Madrid CF 5 FC Barcelona 0.
Hands are raised, fingers outstretched, one for each goal. Down the tunnel, up the stairs and left into the Madrid dressing room there is shouting and cheering, celebrations. Players embrace. One man wears his satisfaction more discreetly. New signing Michael Laudrup, architect of the victory, turns to Madrid's assistant coach Ángel Cappa and smiles.
Then, softly, he says it: 'I won 10-0.'
'Michael spoke quietly, always prudent, reserved,' Cappa remembers. But there it was. Ten-nil. A shift in power had just been played out and no one symbolised that quite like the current Swansea manager. Barcelona beat Madrid 5-0 on 8 January 1994. Almost exactly a year later, on 7 January 1995, they met again, this time with Laudrup on the other side. Now Madrid beat Barcelona 5-0.
Two derbis, two 5-0s, a ten-goal swing and Laudrup on the winning side both times. 'Laudrup was good but not that good,' grins Cappa, but the association never went away. Laudrup tells the tale: 'a few years ago I was at Valencia airport and a father comes up with is son. He tells his son who I am. The son, who can't even have been born in '95, looks at me and says: "Cinco-cero, cinco-cero. 5-0, 5-0".'
'A wind of change is blowing through Spanish football,' one report in the capital giddily put it. 'That magic number, five, the number that once symbolised Madrid's opprobrium, took shape. This is the end of an era.'
They were right. Barcelona were collapsing and by the time the rivals met again four matches from the end of the season, Madrid knew that a win would clinch the league title. And what better place to end a five-year wait than at the Camp Nou? It was the first time Laudrup had returned to the Camp Nou in Real Madrid's colours - and he did so as the architect of the 5-0. He was whistled and booed, insults flying, missiles and tackles too. He had become the incarnation of the power shift and of the rivalry. It did not matter that he had moved as a free agent or had felt forced out of Barcelona, nor that he had personified his problems in Johan Cruyff. Every time he got the ball, the noise rose, and the venom.
'Michael suffered because he didn't expect it, even though we warned him,' Cappa says. 'The fans couldn't bear seeing him in someone else's shirt, least of all ours. He was surprised that his [former] team-mates went in so hard and he couldn't under-stand it. He suffered muchísimo.' Banners declared him a traitor. One advised: die. Barcelona won 1-0.
'That's the only game in my career when factors other than strictly football [ones] influenced my performance,' Laudrup says. 'If we had won we would have been champions at the Camp Nou - for fans of either side there's nothing worse. But I didn't think it would be so massive. My move was different from Figo's, for example. I'd reached the end of my contract and wasn't playing. I knew it would be hard to change sides and I thought: "wouldn't it be easier just to go to England?" But I knew Spain and liked it. I thought: "it's a huge rivalry but I was at Barcelona for five years, I won four leagues and the European Cup." In a naïve way I thought they would recognise that. I knew it would be hard, but not that hard.'
On the flight home after the match, Madrid's manager Jorge Valdano approached Laudrup. 'I realised tonight just how much they loved you,' he said.
Sid Lowe lives in Madrid and writes a weekly column for guardian.co.uk. He also writes regularly for the Guardian, World Soccer, FourFourTwo, and the Telegraph. He works as a commentator and panelist for Spanish, Asian and US television and has acted as translator for David Beckham, Michael Owen, and Thomas Gravesen .