x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Michael Laudrup named as new Swansea manager

Former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder replaces Brendan Rodgers, who left the club to take over at Liverpool at the start of the month.

Swansea City appointed former Denmark international and Barcelona great Michael Laudrup as their manager today in what could be a perfect fit for the 'Barcelona of Welsh football'.

The English Premier League club announced in a statement that Laudrup, who won four titles in a row with Barcelona in a career that also saw him acclaimed as Denmark's best ever player, had signed a two-year deal.

"Contracts were completed at noon today," Swansea, whose playing style has drawn glowing comparisons with the Spanish giants, declared on their website.

It will be Laudrup's first foray into English football management, after resigning from Primera Liga side Real Mallorca in September, and he will be the third manager in four years at the Liberty Stadium.

He will also be the first Dane to manage in the Premier League.

Laudrup, who celebrated his 48th birthday on Friday, replaces Brendan Rodgers who moved to Liverpool last month with three backroom staff.

Swansea finished 11th this year in their debut Premier League season, winning plenty of admirers with a possession style inspired by Barcelona's rapid passing 'tiki-taka' philosophy.

The Dane will be expected to build on that with all the experience he acquired as a Barca and Real Madrid player who won five successive Spanish titles between 1991 and 1995 with a reputation as an elegant passer of the ball.

The attacking midfielder also won league championships in Italy and Netherlands with Juventus and Ajax.

He won 104 caps for Denmark and has managed in Denmark, Spain and Russia.

Former Swansea player-manager and compatriot Jan Molby said earlier in the week that Laudrup's appointment would be a "marriage made in heaven".

"I think he'll do well. I know Michael was very impressed with the way things are done [in the Premier League], the way in which he is in control of footballing matters, selling of players, buying of players," Molby told the BBC.

"I know that's some of the problems he's had at previous clubs and of course he has a very specific way he wants to play," added the former Liverpool midfielder.

"He was strongly influenced by Johan Cruyff when he was at Barcelona in the late 1980s, early 90s.

"That's how he wants to play his football that's how Swansea played last year under Brendan Rodgers, so if it happens I think it's a marriage made in heaven."

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