It is difficult to explain to a modern audience just how highly Brian Laudrup was regarded throughout Scotland in the 90s. He was brilliant, a nice guy, and spent four years at Rangers after playing for Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Milan, and winning the European Championships with Denmark.
I remember my Dad reading a Sunday newspaper in 1999 and saying, “It says here Henrik Larsson is more productive than Brian Laudrup”, the latter having left for Chelsea a year earlier. We were both surprised at this claim appearing in print, as we knew many would regard this as a heresy. Larsson had been at Celtic for two years and won a couple of trophies. Everyone knew he was special, but we were mostly reluctant to make claims that were too onerous.
Larsson was 28 years old and, unlike Laudrup’s illustrious past, his most prominent role before coming to Glasgow was as perennial substitute at Feyenoord. At face value, the comparison seemed absurd. He was 30 when he played his first Champions League match. He had no heritage in the game to speak of, beyond a 1994 World Cup campaign with Sweden, but soon favourable comparisons to the brilliant Laudrup were an accepted fact.
Like Henrik in 1999, two years into his Celtic career, Kyogo is 28 years old. His achievements since arriving in 2021 dwarf over Henrik’s at the same stage. Like Laudrup and Larsson, he is a nice guy, a brilliant footballer and the most cherished player in our game of his era.
Comparisons with great players of the past always sound like a heresy until they become an accepted fact. Yesterday, we extended the contract of a great Celtic player – the only one this century who at this stage is even remotely comparable to Henrik. Keep him fit, make him happy, and watch the heresy slip away. He is that good.