"If I had to pick someone I looked up to it would be Paolo Maldini," Laursen told Villa's website. "I was asked by a journalist when I was at Silkebourg if I could name a world-class player I would like to join the club if I had one wish?
"I chose Paolo and a few years later I was playing alongside him at AC Milan.
"It was an honour to play with him. He's a nice person and a wonderful footballer. He is a complete player and I learnt a lot from him.
"He's a great example of how you should play football and how you should treat football.
"He's a gent on and off the pitch. You can find so many bad examples in football nowadays but he's a first class footballer and first class person.
"I'd love to have a career as long as Paolo's. I'm not sure that will be possible with my injury history but I hope so.
"He's had a brilliant career. He's always been fit and played well and he's an example for other footballers."