Juan Lozano was probably one of LudoCoeck's, nicknamed Ludo Boum, best friends. They played football together, but also after the games and trainings, they spend a lot of time together... until Coeck died in a car accident on the young age of 30.
But also Raymond Goethals knew Coeck very well. "He was simply the best. I worked a lot with Ludo, from his young age to his last years as a football player." The elegant midfielder was already a star in his early years. His carreer started on the age of 15. Goethals: "I got to know his when I was training Belgium's national teams. I did them all, youth teams, professional players, ... Ludo was 15 when I noticed his talent. I lined him up in one of our youth teams. With him, we beat Spain and Portugal and we qualified for the European Championship in Italy. Besides Coeck, also Swat Van der Elst, Jos Daerden, Debougnoux, and many others played in that team. Later on that year, he made it to Berchem's first team under the lead of trainer Rik Coppens. A few months later, he was transfered to Anderlecht. He was a perfect player with a good shot, an excellent pass, a hard header, intelligence,... At that age, he already showed what he was worth. A real talent! On top of that, he was also a very nice guy. We had a lot of fun with Ludo. He enjoyed life."
Coeck (September 25, 1955) was dreaming to became a football player when he was little. As a kid, he was playing football on the streets. Aged 9, he joined Berchem's youth team to join the first team just 7 years later. He immediatly scored in his first game, against Beringen. Anderlecht noticed his talent and Vanden Stock offered him a salary of 10.000 frank per month. Ludo was picked up by a personal driver so he could combine school with football. Though it took several months before the midfielder gained his place in the team. In November 1972, he made his debute against Standard de Liège and played a brilliant game.
Coeck, who had Gianni Rivera as idol, one of the best midfielders Belgium ever had. He was also very flexible. During his first year in Anderlecht, he played on almost every position. Goethals: "Ivic made him a defensive midfielder. Van Himst saw him in a more offensive role. Ivic said: "Ludo, with you as a defender, the opponent is scoring 10 goals less against us." Van Himst countered: "With Coeck as midfielder, we're scoring 10 goals more." That probably describes his talent best...
He'd stay in Anderlecht for eleven years. From '72 until '83. His honour list is impressive: two titles, four cups and four European finals. In '76 he won with Anderlecht against West Ham: 4-2. In '77 the Mauves lost a final with 2-0 against Hamburg. In '78 there was another victory: 4-0 against Austria Wien and in '83 the last victory in a final followed, against Benfica (1-0 and 1-1). Right after that final, he signed for Inter Milan. Coeck also played 46 games for Belgium. In november '83, he got injured during an interland game in Switzerland. From then on, his carreer went down the hill. He was never able to completely recover from this injury. A new operation in December 1984 followed.
Goethals: "No one will ever know if he would have made it in Italy. But he never had much luck in his life. On his 18th, he already had a back problem. He had five operations in his carreer. His left foot was smaller than his right. He wore special shoes to overcome that problem. He also had to rest after every game. He couldn't train several days in a row."
Despite his own problems, he was always optimistic: "I saw much worse in all the hospitals I've been in. But then a terrible thing happened: on a dark October night in 1985, Coeck crashed with his car and died. At that moment, he was rehabilitating from an injury in Belgium. The world said goodbye to a stylish football player. "He was always feeling at home, no matter where he went. That's why no one could ever say anything bad about him..." Those were the words on his funeral.
Goethals: "It has been more than 20 years now, but I still remember Ludo. His class, his talent... The games he played for Anderlecht against Bayern, Liverpool, Austria, Hamburg, ... Yes indeed, he was one of the greatest!"