Scandinavian countries have always nurtured and exported superb soccer players exceptionally well.
Even before the shock European Championships win in 1992, Denmark has always produced technically gifted players who have proven well suited to moving to top European clubs.
With a history going back 125 years, it’s no surprise that European soccer has been littered with examples of Danish players making their mark.
Today, we’re going to look at the greatest Danish players of all time. Having plied their trade in all of the top soccer nations of Europe, it’s a list of exceptional players.
Here are the 7 greatest Danish soccer players of all time.
7. Morten Olsen
Morten Olsen is a former Denmark international with over 100 caps in Danish soccer history. Just 11 years after hanging up his boots, the former Anderlecht and Koln sweeper would become the Danish national team’s manager, a position he held for 15 years.
Playing 531 league games in a career that saw the Dane play in Denmark, Belgium, and Germany, Olsen was a member of the Denmark team that competed in the 1984 and 1988 European Championships, as well as the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
An ever-present for club and country, Olsen has to be on any list of the greatest Danish players of all time thanks to his longevity, both as a player and as a manager.
Olsen managed to play so many games in part due to his versatility; he could play anywhere from just in front of the goalkeeper right up to the winger position.
6. Brian Laudrup
Having a brother who happens to be one of the best Danish soccer players of all time can’t be easy; the endless comparisons and the feeling that people wish you were the “other Laudrup” hangs over your head constantly. Or it would if you didn’t happen to be a superb player yourself.
Brian Laudrup, brother of Michael Laudrup, had a superb career, playing for some of the biggest teams in European history.
A versatile and tactically astute player, Laudrup could play as a midfielder, winger, and center forward and excelled at all three roles.
Starting his career at Brondby, the future Denmark international would travel Europe for the next 13 seasons.
Brian Laudrup’s resume is a who’s who of some of the best clubs. From Bayern Munich, the Dane would have spells at Fiorentina and Milan before four excellent seasons in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers.
Laudrup would have an unsuccessful period at Chelsea before heading back to Denmark with Copenhagen, before finishing his career at Dutch giants Ajax.
A Danish 1st Division, the DFL Supercup, a Serie A title, and Champions League with AC Milan, three Scottish titles, and two domestic cups with Rangers, Laudrup won wherever he played.
Even his seven games at Chelsea saw the player win the UEFA Super Cup! And let’s not forget the incredible story of Denmark’s 1992 European Championships victory; not a bad career at all.
5. Allan Rodenkam Simonsen
One of the most prolific strikers of the 1970s, Allan Simonsen, left Denmark at the age of 20 for Germany to ply for Borussia Monchengladbach and never looked back.
Despite being tiny for a striker, Simonsen was only 1.65m(5ft 5in) tall; the striker would go on to score 202 league goals in his career.
After seven successful years in Germany, Simonsen moved to Spain, joining Barcelona in 1982. The Danish international quickly settled in Spain and was Barcelona’s top scorer in his first season.
Despite his success with the club, Simonsen was forced out when Barcelona signed an Argentinian player of some skill.
As only two foreign players were allowed to be registered, Simonsen had to go, especially as the Argentine player happened to be called Diego Armando Maradona. A shock move to Charlton Athletic in the old English Second Division followed.
Simonsen chose the club as he wanted to play without stress or worry, but he would eventually move back to his childhood club, VB, after just one season in England.
The superb striker spent his last six seasons as a professional player in Denmark, doing what he did best; scoring goals.
4. Jon Dahl Tomasson
Another striker with a superb pedigree, Jon Dahl Tomasson was a journeyman center-forward with a superb shot and excellent positioning.
Tomasson played for some of the biggest European clubs and had spells in Holland, England, Germany, Italy, and Spain, scoring 180 goals.
Despite having the pace of a wounded duck, Tomasson worked like a dog and had the ability to find space and give himself the time to take a shot.
Allied with his unerring ability to hit the target, the Danish striker forged a career that saw his services in demand throughout European soccer.
On the international stage, Tomasson scored 52 goals in 112 appearances for Denmark and was one of the national team’s most important players.
While the striker didn’t win any silverware with his nation, he certainly did for his clubs; a Dutch Eredivisie with Feyenoord in 1999 was followed by a Serie A and Champions League with AC Milan in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
After retiring in 2011, Tomasson moved into management, and after spells in Holland and Sweden, the legendary striker is now the head coach at English Championship club Blackburn Rovers.
It’s no giant leap of the imagination to guess that one day we’ll see Tomasson in charge of the Danish national team.
3. Christian Eriksen
One of the most recognizable and talented players that Denmark has produced for years, Christian Eriksen, is a creative midfielder with superb skills that have seen the Danish international star for teams such as Ajax, Tottenham, Inter Milan, and Manchester United.
After breaking into the Ajax team in 2010, Eriksen soon began drawing attention from other top European clubs; his passing range, intelligence, and ability to dictate the play from midfield made him a prime target.
After only three seasons, Eriksen was snapped up by Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur and quickly became a key player for the London club.
An excellent free-kick specialist, Eriksen scored 51 goals for Spurs in 226 league appearances, becoming one of the most potent attacking midfielders in the Premier League.
Despite constant speculation that the Danish Player of the Year would leave for an even bigger club, the Dane remained at Tottenham for seven seasons.
Allowing his contract to run down, Eriksen joined Serie A powerhouse Inter Milan in 2020 and, despite a poor season, contributed to the club winning the league.
It was the first time Juventus hadn’t won the league in nine seasons, and it looked like Eriksen had finally settled down in Italy. Unfortunately, the horrific on-field cardiac at Euro 2020 soon meant the player’s career was again on another path.
In the first game of Euro 2020, Denmark was playing Finland, and in the 42nd minute of the game, Eriksen suddenly collapsed while on the pitch.
Immediate medical attention meant that the Danish star received the necessary help, but his heart attack meant that the player would be out of action for months.
A heart implant meant Eriksen could not play in Italy, so the player returned to England with the newly promoted side Brentford when he recovered.
An excellent season caught the eye of Manchester United, and the rest, as they say, is history. Eriksen’s career is now blossoming again at the highest level, and the player looks to be back to full fitness.
2. Peter Schmeichel
There aren’t many soccer fans who haven’t heard of the Great Dane Peter Schmeichel, one of the most successful Danish players of all time.
After a decade of learning his trade as a goalkeeper in Denmark, Schmeichel was snapped up by Manchester United, with Alex Ferguson seeing the potential in the Danish goalie.
It helped that Schmeichel was huge, loud, and confident, all attributes that a United goalkeeper needs to succeed.
Schmeichel had no qualms about screaming at his defense, even when the defenders were seasoned internationals such as Steve Bruce and Garry Pallister.
By the time Schmeichel retired, he had cemented his place in history as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time and one of the era’s most decorated Premier League players.
Winning five Premier League titles, three FA Cups, a League Cup, and the Champions League, Schmeichel made United a more solid defensive team. One of the all-time greats and Denmark’s most-capped player.
1. Michael Laudrup
The undisputed all-time greatest Danish player of all time could only have been one player. Michael Laudrup, nicknamed the “Prince of Denmark,” was among any generation’s most elegant, creative, and successful players.
Laudrup had superb technique, was quick with or without the ball, and had an unsurpassed passing range.
As well as being one of the most complete attacking midfielders of all time, Laudrup was also one of the best team players of all time.
His superb passing range meant that teammates wouldn’t have to do anything but run toward the opposing goal, and Laudrup would somehow find them with an incredible pass.
The Danish international had it all; he also won it all. A Serie A and Intercontinental Cup with Juventus, five consecutive La Liga titles, four with Barcelona, and one at Real Madrid.
Laudrup also won the European Cup with Barcelona, UEFA Super Cup, and the Dutch Eredivisie with Ajaz; If it had a trophy, Laudrup won it.
So good was Laudrup that the Danish FA created a new award, Denmark’s Best Player of All Time, and put eight potential winners into the voting hat.
Unsurprisingly, Laudrup got 58% of the votes, and with good reason; he’s undoubtedly the greatest Danish player of all time.