If doing things with style was Brian Laudrup's philosophy as a footballer then the manner of his farewell to the international game could not have been more fitting.
When this elegant winger walked off the pitch after his final appearance for Denmark, he had played his part in one of the most colourful contests of the 1998 FIFA World Cup - a seesaw quarter-final against Brazil , which brought defeat for the Danes but only just.
Laudrup scored Denmark's second goal in Nantes; it was his 21st goal in 82 internationals and levelled the scores at 2-2. Ten minutes later Rivaldo struck Brazil's winner and a Danish dream died, but for Laudrup and his older brother Michael also collecting his final cap - this was not a bad way to say goodbye.
Fast forward eight years and Brian Laudrup is recalling that summer night in France as he speaks to FIFAworldcup.com from the home in Copenhagen that he shares with his wife Mette and children Nicolai and Rasmine. "The game against Brazil was a game we actually could have won on the night we played as well as Brazil but they had these players with a flash of genius," he says. "Ronaldo and Rivaldo were outstanding and they were the reason we went home. But to play in a World Cup for any footballer, you can't really compare it to anything."
Within two years of that FIFA World Cup, his playing days were over, an achilles problem forcing him to retire at just 31. But his life in football continues and today Laudrup divides his time between his television work for the Danish broadcaster TV3 and the football schools he runs with former Denmark goalkeeper Lars Hogh. "It's great to still be involved with football in some ways," he says.
Laudrup has been commentating on UEFA Champions League matches for TV3 for five years now but his summer coaching camps are a more recent venture. "We've been doing it for the past two years," he says. There are three Laudrup & Hogh Pro Camps in Denmark and the week-long courses cater for youngsters aged from 12-14 and 16-17. "We try and pass on what we have experienced," explains Laudrup, whose clinics involve input from psychologists. "We believe that is very important. And it's great fun to work with the young players, they're really enthusiastic and they really want to do something with their football."
Learn more about the Laudrup & Hogh Pro Camp (Danish language only)
Moments that stand out
Looking back at the things Laudrup did in football, there are two moments that stand out: Denmark's unlikely triumph at the 1992 UEFA European Championship in Sweden and their run to the last eight at France 98. For all their heroics in 1992, he believes the Danes actually had a better side in 1998. "In 1992 we had five or six players from the Danish first division so we knew each other very well and perhaps that was the reason we won. But if you look at the quality, that was stronger in 1998."
Yet they made a stuttering start in France, beating Saudi Arabia 1-0, before drawing with South Africa and losing to the host nation. "If you look back to '92 nobody expected anything from us. When we are the underdogs we are really capable of doing something but if we are among the favourites then we are struggling and I think that is why we got off to a very bad start as we put ourselves under a lot of pressure."
Having scraped into the last 16, few expected Denmark to get the better of Nigeria yet they suddenly found their best form to overwhelm the Africans, Laudrup getting the second goal in a 4-1 success at the Stade de France. "The highlight for me was definitely that match," he recalls.
"Nigeria were the favourites and we just thought, 'Let's go out and enjoy it and show people what we're capable of'. Every time that happens, Denmark are dangerous. They had a world-class team but we played some of our best football and beating them 4-1 was outstanding."
View all the results and statistics from France 98
It was also "fantastic" to share the experience with his brother Michael, who had sat out EURO 92 after a dispute with then Denmark coach Richard Moller Nielsen. Laudrup includes his brother on a list of the five best footballers he played with during a career which began at his father Finn's old club Brondby and ended at Ajax. At Bayern Munich he played alongside Stefan Effenberg ("You can love him or hate him but as a footballer he was something else") before his time at Fiorentina brought him into close proximity with Gabriel Batistuta.
"It was funny as I was watching him in training for the first couple of days and he was one of the worst trainers I'd ever seen," he remembers. "His technique was lousy, his shots were going wide but then he scored ten goals in the first five or six games and I realised what a player he was." Paolo Maldini at AC Milan and Paul Gascoigne at Rangers complete the list, and for Laudrup it was with that latter club that he enjoyed "the four best years of my career", collecting three Scottish league championship medals between 1994 and '98.
Laudrup is happy to discuss the past, but he does not dwell on it. "I achieved what I had to do and didn't have any regrets at all," says the four-times Danish player of the year. "I just enjoy watching a good football match today."
First name: Brian
Date of birth: 22 February 1969
Place of birth: Vienna, Austria
Playing career: Brondby (Denmark), Bayer Uerdingen (Germany), Bayern Munich (Germany), Fiorentina (Italy), AC Milan (Italy), Rangers (Scotland), Chelsea (England), FC Copenhagen (Denmark), Ajax (Netherlands)
International caps: 82
International goals: 21
FIFA World Cup
Quarter-finals in 1998
UEFA European Championship
Winner in 1992
First round in 1996