Team 33: Ian Rush talks missing out on Maradona combination and his enduring bond with Michael Laudrup

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Team 33: Ian Rush talks missing out on Maradona combination and his enduring bond with Michael Laudrup


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With Liverpool in the midst of a Champions League semi final tie against AS Roma, one of the Reds who triumphed over the same Italian club in the 1984 European Cup final in Rome's Stadio Olimpico happened to be in Dublin this week.

Ian Rush, who remains Liverpool's record goalscorer, was in town to launch the club's pre-season game against SSC Napoli that will take place at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, August 4th.

In actual fact, before Napoli signed Diego Maradona in the 1980s, Rush had been on their radar as he told Team 33 when I caught up with him for a quick chat at the Aviva Stadium.

You can listen back to the full interview on the podcast player or stream/download on iTunes:    

"Napoli tried to sign me in '84 when they'd just signed Maradona. Sir John Smith, the chairman then, wouldn't let me go so that's probably my biggest regret is not playing with Maradona. I was lucky enough to play against him. I actually scored [for Juventus]. We beat them at Juventus and they beat us at Napoli," he recalled. 

Rush's spell in Serie A with Juventus lasted only for the duration of the 1987-88 season and while he wasn't given permission to have an interpreter, the legendary Michael Laudrup helped him settle in at the club, especially linguistically, and they're still in touch 30 years on.

Salvatore Bagni challenges Juventus' Ian Rush for the ball. Olycom/EMPICS Entertainment

"I think skills-wise, he was probably the most skillful player I played with," he said of the Dane.

"I still speak to Michael now, including when he was managing Swansea. He was such a great player. He really did help me, to tell you the truth. He was one of those who could speak perfect English and perfect Italian so he was sort of my interpreter at the time. We roomed together as well."

Plus, he also recalled a match against Dundalk in the 1982-83 European Cup early rounds when Liverpool won 4-1 and then-Ireland midfielder Ronnie Whelan got on the scoresheet.

Recent interviews on Team 33 include former Man United cult hero Andrei Kanchelskis, ex-England international Carlton Palmer, former Newcastle and Everton left back Alessandro Pistone, Chelsea legends Bobby Tambling and Paddy Mulligan, Dutch legend Johan Neeskens, ex-England striker Darius Vassell, Liverpool legend David Fairclough, former Ireland midfielder Mark Kinsella and former Everton forward Tomasz Radzinski. Plus our in-depth chats with Tony CotonPackie BonnerNobby SolanoRon Atkinson and Alan Curbishley are still available on iTunes. You can find them all in one place by subscribing to Team 33 on iTunes.


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