Laudrup named as Mallorca boss
Michael Laudrup is delighted to have sealed a return to Spanish football after penning a two-year deal at Real Mallorca today but has warned the troubled team not to expect miracles. Laudrup enjoyed an impressive season at Getafe in 2007/08, which saw him take the minnows to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup and the final of the Copa del Rey, all the while playing a brand of exciting, attacking football.
However, the Danish legend insists that it will be the player's ambitions that determine how well the team do. "I'm very happy to be at Mallorca and also to return to La Liga, which is the league in which they practice the best football," said Laudrup. "I'm delighted to be on the island. It's not up to me to say the aims of the team. It has to be up to the players to set them and be convinced of them."
Laudrup has long been linked with a return to Spain and almost took over at Atletico Madrid last year, but failed to agree terms with the capital club. The 46-year-old has been out of a job since being sacked by Spartak Moscow in April 2009.
Laudrup has a tough task ahead of him at Mallorca, as he takes charge of a club with huge debts. Last week the club, which finished fifth in the league last season, was taken over by a consortium led by former coach and Mallorca native, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer.
The former Danish international admits he does not know which players he will be able to count on next season but is confident the club's problems can be overcome, especially by focusing on youth.
"They will be sorted out," he said. "Football can't isolate itself from the economic crisis. There may be many changes to the squad. What's important is that those who remain are happy and know that this is something serious and that there has to be a correct path.
"In football there are veterans, loan players, youngsters and youth-team players. The first two groups cannot give you anything financially, because you cannot sell them. But the youngsters and those from the youth team can. If you produce a player every six years, the club's economy does not improve, but if you continue producing players then you can go along healthy."
Laudrup replaces Gregorio Manzano, whose contract was not renewed at the end of the season due to the club's financial woes. Manzano led Mallorca to the brink of UEFA Champions League qualification, missing out on Europe's elite competition on the last day of the season. Their fifth-place finish nevertheless entitles them to a shot at the UEFA Europa League.