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Martin Laursen
Aston Villa-FH 173.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth 26 July 1977 (1977-07-26) (age 32)
Place of birth Fårvang, Denmark
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current club Retired
Youth career
Horn-Fårvang IF
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1998 Silkeborg 35 (1)
1998–2001 Hellas Verona 58 (3)
2001–2002 Parma 0 (0)
2001–2002 Milan (loan) 22 (2)
2002–2004 Milan 10 (0)
2004–2009 Aston Villa 91 (11)
Total 216 (17)
National team
2000–2008 Denmark 53 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Martin Laursen (born 26 July 1977 in Fårvang, Denmark) is a retired Danish professional football player who played as a centre back. He had most recently been the captain of Aston Villa. Laursen was capped 53 times and scored two goals for the Denmark national football team, whom he represented in the 2002 FIFA World Cup and two European Championship tournaments. On 15 May 2009, he announced his decision to retire from football rather than undergo major surgery.[1]

Contents

Biography

Laursen started his senior career with Danish club Silkeborg, whom he helped steer to second place in the 1997–98 season.

Hellas Verona

After three seasons at Silkeborg, he moved to Italy to play for then Serie B outfit Hellas Verona in August 1998. The contact with Verona was mediated by former Verona player and Silkeborg manager Preben Elkjær. Laursen was plagued by a knee injury for the majority of his first season at Verona, where the club won promotion to the top-flight Serie A. Laursen conquered a place in the starting line-up during his second season in Italy. Laursen was often known as Lionheart Laursen by his loyal fans, describing his courage and great ability to time his headers.

Milan

Seeking a high profile move, Parma, who already jointly owned Laursen with Verona, made a successful bid for his services. Following only three weeks of training at the club, Laursen was eventually picked up by AC Milan in a £8.7 million bid, who needed depth in their squad due to injuries. Laursen started out strong for his new club, scoring two goals in his first four league matches, but as Milan's regular defenders came back from injury, he saw his playing time diminishing.

Though winning silverware with Milan in 2003, Laursen failed to appear in the UEFA Champions League final. Due to the presence of Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta, Laursen failed to establish himself in Milan's first team in the long run.

Aston Villa

On 21 May 2004, Laursen was bought by English Premiership side Aston Villa for £3 million, on a four-year contract. He played a solid Euro 2004 for Denmark, again playing full time in all Denmark's games, before he moved to play for Aston Villa. His debut with Villa came against Southampton on 14 August, a match which ended 2-0 in Villa's favour.

Laursen's time at Villa initially proved frustrating. He put in a few encouraging performances on and off, during the 2004–05 season, but the knee injury that has plagued him earlier in his career returned and kept Laursen from playing a single match for Aston Villa during the 2005–06 season. After a re-occurrence of the knee injury during the summer 2006 off-season, his playing future at club and international level was seen to be in doubt. He underwent a full rehabilitation in Bologna, where he spent most of the 2005–06 season, and returned to the Aston Villa side in August 2006.

Laursen became an effective goalscorer for Aston Villa during the 2007–08 season, scoring 6 goals from centre back including three goals against Tottenham Hotspur, two of which came in a thrilling 4–4 draw at White Hart Lane, the other coming in a 2–1 home victory.

Laursen agreed terms on a new 2 and a half year deal with Aston Villa on 17 January 2008.[2] He was voted the Supporters' Player of the Year in 2008, following his impressive form in the 2007/2008 season.

In Aston Villa's first game of the season, in the Intertoto Cup, Laursen captained the side and continued his goal-scoring record from set pieces by scoring Villa's second goal against Odense BK, which eventually finished 2-2. Laursen also managed to get onto the scoresheet in UEFA Cup match with FH Hafnarfjörður , and against Stoke City in the Premiership. On 23 October 2008, Laursen gave Aston Villa the lead in the UEFA Cup game against Ajax with a header from close-range. Villa went on to win the match 2-1.

Since then, the Danish international returned to form, and was an integral part of Martin O'Neill's plans, whilst distinguishing himself as one of the league's top defenders.

Laursen replaced Gareth Barry as club captain for Aston Villa on a permanent basis for the 2008-2009 season.

On 22 April 2009, O'Neill expressed fears that Laursen's career may be over following a string of injuries, the latest of which had kept him out of action since January and if treated would take 10 months to recover.

On 15 May, Laursen confirmed his retirement from football due to a knee injury.[3] 24 May saw Aston Villa's final game of the season at home to Newcastle United. Prior to kick-off, Laursen appeared in front of the Villa Park crowd and performed a speech to thank the fans and wish them well for the future. Following this, he was inducted into the "Villa Legends" section of Aston Villa's official website.[4]

International career

He made his debut for the Denmark national team in a friendly match against Portugal in March 2000. He was a part of the Denmark squad at the 2000 European Championship (Euro 2000), though he did not play a single game due to injury.

Laursen's breakthrough with the national team came at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, when he played full time in all four Denmark games before elimination. Laursen scored his first goal for his country in September 2003, in the UEFA Euro 2004, an all-important goal in injury time of the penultimate qualification match. His goal levelled the game with Romania to 2–2, and kept Denmark in the race for a place at the final competition. Laursen and the Denmark team secured qualification when they drew the last game, thus winning their qualification group.

After his absence from the Danish national team for more than one and a half years, he was called up in November 2006, but had to withdraw due to yet another knee injury.

On 29 January 2009, Laursen announced his retirement from international football.[5] He played his last international game on 11 October 2008 against Malta.

International goals

Scores and results list Denmark's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 2003-09-10 Copenhagen, Denmark  Romania 2-2 2-2 UEFA Euro 2004 Qual.
2 2007-09-12 Aarhus, Denmark  Liechtenstein 2-0 4-0 UEFA Euro 2008 Qual.

Honours

Milan

Individual

References

External links


Simple English

Martin Laursen
File:Aston Villa-FH
Personal information
Full name Martin Laursen
Date of birth 26 July 1977 (1977-07-26) (age 33)
Place of birth    Fårvang, Denmark
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Defender (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
1995-1998
1998-2001
2001-2004
2004-2009
Silkeborg
Hellas Verona
Milan
Aston Villa
National team
2000-2008 Denmark

Martin Laursen (born 26 July 1977) is a former Danish football player. He has played for Denmark national team.

Club career statistics

[1]

Club Performance League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
DenmarkLeague
1995/96SilkeborgSuperliga10
1996/97120
1997/98221
ItalyLeague
1998/99Hellas VeronaSerie B60
1999/00Serie A192
2000/01310
2001/02MilanSerie A222
2002/03100
2003/04100
EnglandLeague
2004/05Aston VillaPremier League121
2005/0610
2006/07140
2007/08386
2008/09191
CountryDenmark 351
Italy 984
England 848
Total 21713

International career statistics

Denmark national team
YearAppsGoals
200040
200180
2002100
200381
2004100
200510
200600
200771
200850
Total532

References








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