Sign in or
|L | Player Pics | A-Z of Players | Road to Seville|
PersonalFullname: Henrik Larsson
aka: "Henke" (by Friends), "King of Kings" (by Celts), "Ghod" (Celts), "The Magnificent Seven"
Born: 20 September 1971
Birthplace: Helsingborg, Sweden
Signed: 25 July 1997
Left: 30 June 2004
First game: Hibernian 1-2 away 3 August 1997 league
Last game: Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Hampden 22 May 2004 Scottish cup final
First goal: Berwick Rangers 7-0 Tynecastle 9 August 1997 league cup
Last goal: Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Hampden 22 May 2004 Scottish cup final
International Caps: 106 Caps
International Goals: 36 Goals
|"You don’t want to walk in another man’s footsteps, you want to create your own.”|
Henrik Larsson MBE (born September 20, 1971 in Helsingborg, Skåne) is a Swedish international football player.
Larsson is a legend for the club, playing a central part in the revitalisation of the club as it once again dominated Scottish football having been in the doldrums for much of the previous 15 years. He broke domestic scoring records and was the talisman to take the club to the UEFA Cup final in 2003. He was a truly world class player.
Having completed seven very successful years with Celtic in Glasgow, Scotland, after the end of the 2003/04 season he signed a one year contract with an option for a second year for Spanish giants Barcelona. Despite having missed the majority of his first season with Barcelona through injury, the option to play in season 2005/06 was extended and accepted.
In his last match for Barcelona, he set up both of Barca's goals in the European Cup Final as they won the Champions League.
In 2004 he was voted the greatest Swedish footballer of all time.
In the summer of 2006 he returned to his native Helsingborg to play for Helsingborgs IF.
- A Celtic legend.
- Scored this 200th goal for Celtic in the UEFA cup final.
- Won the European Golden Boot for highest goals scorer in Europe in 2000/01.
- Larsson is actually his mother's maiden name. He was given the name as felt would help him fit in more easily.
- Scored an own goal in his European Debut for Celtic!
- His signature tune at Parkhead was the theme tune from "The Magnificent Seven" (a western movie), no.7 was his jersey number.
- Henrik's first and last goals at Celtic Park were for teams other than Celtic. OG for FC Tirol Insbruuk in August 1998 and Barca in 2004
- Trademark: After scoring a goal he used to stick his tongue out hanging (in homage to a basketball player).
ChildhoodTo get to understand Larsson more fully you need to start from as early as possible.
(below is taken from an interview in the "The Herald" April 20 2003, speaking to Douglas Alexander)
THE doorbell of the Bjork family home rang in a suburb of the Swedish port of Helsingborgs on the evening of June 25, 1978. As the door opened, a small boy with curly hair stood outside, clutching a football.
Was Fredrik coming out to play? Henrik Larsson, then six years old, was in such a rush that he couldn’t even wait for extra-time in the World Cup final between Argentina and Holland. He had bolted from the block of flats he lived in, desperate to be Mario Kempes or Leopoldo Luque, the Argentine strikers.
“I grew up in the flats, and just down from my house was the biggest grass field, and there all the kids used to come together and play different games of football. In summers, when everybody was off during the holidays, we used to go down and play football from early morning until mum called you in for dinner.”
Eva Larsson was a factory worker, and Henrik’s dad was Francisco Rocha, a sailor from the Cape Verde islands off Senegal on the west coast of Africa. He has an elder brother, Kim, from a previous relationship of his mother’s, and a younger one, Robert, who is also Francisco’s son.
He was named after his uncle Henrique but it was agreed that it would be changed to the Swedish Henrik, and that he would take his mother’s surname to help him fit in. His Christian name was soon abbreviated further to Henke by his childhood friends.
Patrick Vieira’s ancestors are also from the Cape Verde islands, but his family fled to Senegal when a drought hit the crops in the 1960s. Several members of Larsson’s extended family remain, and he hopes to go there with his father when he retires. “I would love to do that but you shouldn’t go only for one or two weeks, you should be there for longer to see everything because there is a lot of different islands. Hopefully, I will have the time soon to do that.
“My dad is still in Sweden and obviously if I am going I will bring him back. He will have to show me the language because unfortunately I don’t speak Portuguese. I would love to go back with him and see how he had it when he grew up, and see the family over there. My dad was a sailor, he’s an old man now, 72 in December. He was out on the sea, sailing all over the world on merchant ships. He ended up in Denmark first, then he came to Sweden.”
It was from his father that Larsson got his love of football.
“We always used to watch football. We had this programme in Sweden where they showed English games every Saturday. I used to sit up with him and watch European Cups, World Cups, European Championships, the Swedish national team. We watched it all. He loves football. Brazil was his favourite team and we always used to go for them when it was a World Cup.”
His father also rented him a video of Pele, which Larsson watched over and over. “If you look at Pele, he could score goals but he could also set up a goal. He has always been my idol.”
Larsson would pretend to be Pele and Brazil, and his pals would tease by asking to be teams like Poland instead, but there were also more sinister taunts to deal with. “I am not that dark but obviously I had my curly hair when I was young and you get people, who don’t understand, who will say something. I used to win the most fights as well, so it soon stopped.
“I can’t recollect feeling that different. I only had to look at my dad and I knew I wasn’t 100% Swedish, but when you are a kid you don’t have those worries. You just go on with it and that depends how the other kids are as well. There were times when people called you something. You always have the odd ones who will say something. You have bad people everywhere in the world and that includes Sweden.
“The older I get the more I say it is stupid people that are racists or whatever, and mostly it is because they are afraid. I don’t understand someone who hates someone else when they don’t know the person, just because he’s black, yellow or whatever colour you want to mention. For me, that’s just not comprehensible.”
Larsson remembers his childhood as a happy one, although his parents separation when he was 12 affected him deeply. “It’s a very vulnerable time of your upbringing, so that wasn’t easy. It took a lot of time before I could accept it, but that’s the way life goes sometimes and you just have to make the best of it.”
He admits he threw himself into football to forget and became particularly close to two coaches at Hogaborgs, Bengt Persson and Kenneth Karlsson. Persson passed away in 1999, but Larsson remains in regular contact with Karlsson, who was also a teacher at his former school. “I loved playing football at that time. I trained maybe twice or three times a week with Hogaborgs and the rest of the time I was out playing in games. I used to play with two different teams, so I had my mind on other things.
“Kenneth always used to look after me when I was at school. He more or less took my side if he saw somebody older bullying me. It wasn’t only with me, it was with every kid. I always felt I had support from him.
“Bengt was there as well with support when things weren’t going as I wanted it to go. The club was very important for my football education but also for educating me about life in general — about being polite and things like that. It was very important and I will never forget. I always try to give something back for what they gave me.”
As good as his word, Larsson sends cheques for any paid television punditry back to Hogaborgs BK and returns when he can to present the HenkeBoll, an award for the club’s most promising player under 16. “If I am home, I try to give that out, but mostly I am not.”
A quarter of a century on, Fredrik Bjork, the boy whose doorbell he rang that night in June 1978, remains his “best friend”.
Pre-Celtic Career(below is taken from an interview in the "The Herald" April 20 2003, speaking to Douglas Alexander)
DESPITE the good grounding with Hogaborgs, Larsson began to wonder if the dreams of becoming a footballer, which he had articulated in his school essays, would ever come true — especially when he was found employment as a fruit-packer and as a youth worker upon leaving school. “Looking back, I think that was very good for me. At that time, when I was 18, I had more or less given up hope of turning pro because, if you looked around you, there were players my age already playing at the highest level in Sweden. It made me realise that football wasn’t everything and there were other things to life as well. It maybe gave me a good distance.
“It is still life and death when you are out there, but it was terrible sometimes with me. I hated to lose, I really hated to lose. I still do, but it was maybe more of a disadvantage to me than an advantage, because I let it get to me too much.”
It was also around this time that he met Magdalena Spjuth — an uptown girl. She came from a posh suburb and was a keen horse-rider, her father was a prominent politician and her mother an education chief with the local authority but, like Henrik’s parents, they had separated in her teens.
She became Magdalena Larsson on Midsummer’s Eve 1996, and Larsson describes her stabilising role in his success as “very important”.
“I don’t care about money,” says Larsson, who reputedly earns £40,000 a week. “If you ask me how much I have, I wouldn’t have a clue. Bank managers I don’t speak with. My wife does all that.
“As long as I can have dinner and treat myself to a few things, I am happy with that. You won’t find me in Glasgow city centre every week, shopping. I have money so I can buy the things I want, but it has never been the most important thing in my life, even when I didn’t have any money.
“The people who know me, and there’s a lot of people in Scotland who don’t know me, but my friends back home know exactly. In that aspect, I haven’t changed at all.”
The new maturity started to translate into his performances. He went to Benfica, then managed by Sven-Göran Eriksson, to train, thanks to the influence of Mats Magnusson, the famous Swedish striker. Magnusson then returned home to Helsingborgs, Hogaborgs’ larger neighbours, and they signed Larsson as his partner. Sweden’s scoring torch was about to be passed between two generations.
“Mats Magnusson was the one that you aspired to because he came from the same club and went to Malmo, went to Switzerland, went to Benfica, where he’s as big as ever, and played in the national team. So you wanted to do the same. Deep down, I still believed I could do it. The hope is always there that you can achieve it.
“He was a very good player. A lot of people don’t understand how good he was because he also played in a smaller league and, when he was in Portugal, people used to say the same things about him that they say about me now.”
Larsson learned rapidly from Magnusson, scoring 34 goals in 31 games to help Helsingborgs back to Sweden’s top division. His admiration for his veteran partner increased as he watched him play through tremendous pain. “All that season he had trouble with his right knee. He was two-footed like Lubomir Moravcik, which was just as well because he had to go to the doctors every week and get the water out of the knee. He couldn’t play with his right leg all season. Incredible.”
Larsson continued to score in Sweden’s top division, helping Helsingborgs to fifth place, and found foreign clubs courting him when the Swedish season ended in the autumn of 1993. His choice was between Christian Gross’s Grasshoppers and Wim Jansen’s Feyenoord.
“Holland was a better league than Switzerland,” he explains. “Wim was only there for two months, then he went, then we had Willem Van Hanegem, who was quite alright, then Arie Haan. I didn’t play well in the first year under him.
“I played in a lot of different positions — left, right, anywhere you can imagine. The second year it started off good and I played as a striker, and then he started to change me after 50, 55, 60 minutes all the time, even if I was playing good. I had to get out of there, I had to get away. That wasn’t the way I wanted to play.
“I had a meeting with Helsingborgs at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam at the airport, but I told them that if something else came up, I would go straight to that because I didn’t want to go home to Sweden just yet. If you go home, you are a failure. Simple as that.
“I didn’t want to go home because there’s not many who go home and come out again. Then Wim came and saved me.”
Marcel Van der Kraan, a Dutch journalist, provided the crucial information, that Larsson had a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave if an offer of £650,000 was received, although the striker had to take the Dutch club to court to invoke it. During his signing press conference for Celtic, Larsson was questioned on suspicion of being damaged goods. “You might be good but you still have to prove it again, and I don’t think a lot of people knew me and knew who I was. Wim knew who I was and what he could get out of me, and I am just happy that he brought me here.”
Was it fate? “It’s hard to say no. You have to say yeah.”
Celtic Career: Pre-Martin O'Neill (1997-2000)Following the complicated contract dispute with Feyenoord, he was signed by Celtic manager Wim Jansen in July 1997 for a fee of £650,000. For many a funny looking character with his blonde dreadlocks, many didn't know what to expect from him. Granted he had a good World Cup in 1994, but a price tag of £650k plus didn't seem to signal for many that we had bought a world beater (it's amazing how things turn out sometimes).
So was our legendary player to start with a bang? Yes, but not exactly how it was meant to be written. In his debut, a bad pass to Chick Charnley (an opposition player) allowed him to score a scorcher against us which allowed him to live off that goal forever more in his dinner speeches! He didn't fare much better in his first European game, scoring an own goal, although Celtic did run out 6-2 winners.
In any case, this was the least of his problems with Larsson's first season being what was expected to be the lowest ever for the club, with the Huns favourites to win "Ten in a row" (league titles). They didn't, and Larsson played a strong part in our own "1 in a row". A makeshift squad, having lost many of our best players (the three amigos and McStay), battled their way to the title. Larsson struck up a good partnership with his fellow strikers, scoring 19 goals himself, a magnificent return. Larsson recognised this league title as one of the highlights of his Celtic career.
Problem was that Wim Jansen was the man who brought him to Parkhead, stating Larsson as "The best signing I ever made", but due to internal politics Jansen departed from Celtic at the end of the season (or was in any case about to be sacked depending on whose story you want to believe). Many believed that Larsson would leave with him but he didn't thankfully although things weren't to become any easier.
Next manager was Jo Venglos, an affable man and a fair manager, but with a hun-biased press tearing into him and insulting him at every point, life at Celtic for both himself and the players was never to be easy. The introduction of Lubo to the Celtic squad was for Larsson a catalyst that helped to push him fully into the limelight, and he lapped up the support and the goals. The golden striker partnership with stroppy Viduka was short-lived due to the attitude of the latter, but when it worked it was magnificent. However, it wasn't enough to stop the Huns who were outspending Celtic. In any case, Larsson's haul for the season made him one of the few players to be able to really hold their head up high. The standards he set himself and his demeanour were something that was making him increasingly noticed by all (within and outside the club), with respect from everyone.
At the end of it it all, it was still a poor season for Celtic, so was Larsson about to leave? Again thankfully no, despite overtures from other clubs including Manchester Utd. He and his family were happy and nothing else mattered.
If ever there was a season to test Larsson, then the 1999-00 season was it. New set of managers (John Barnes with Kenny Daglish) installed at the helm, and at the start there was a new confidence about the place but it turned out to be quite ephemeral, John Barnes being in way over his head. If things weren't tough enough, the lowest moment was to come for Larsson. In a UEFA Cup/European match against Lyon, Henrik Larsson's studs got caught in the ground as he was running, and in a freak accident his leg broke in two places. The pictures made it look even worse than it already was (his shinguard popped out and made it look like he now had three joints), but he was finished for the season. It is painful to look back on that moment, and how we all genuinely felt for him as a person let alone as a footballer. It could have been the end of his career, as various footballers have been unable to fully recover from such an injury (mentally or physically) being out for eight months.
Without Larsson, the season went from bad to worse for Celtic: losing our manager, infighting amongst players and so on. Worst of all were the big defeats by he Huns, watching them outspend us and win the league at a canter. In some ways, its hard to know what would have been if Larsson was still there and not out injured. Would it have all not have happened? Who knows?
Somehow, he managed to recover faster than expected to return for the last game of the season (a two-nil win v Dundee Utd) and if nothing else came good out of that season, that at least joyed the hearts of the fans and I'm sure it meant even more to Larsson who was heading to the European Championships with Sweden in Holland/Belgium. It was a poor tournament for Sweden but Larsson managed to score one goal in a defeat to Italy, and coming after the pain of the past year it was a sweet moment (his first goal in a competitive match since his return).
All was to change with the arrival of Martin O'Neill as manager from the 2000-01 season, and Larsson's golden era was to begin.
Celtic Career: the Martin O'Neill years (2000-2004)Martin O'Neill's arrival at the club was to be instrumental for Henrik's career at the club. Having played under four managers already at Celtic, Larsson might have felt a bit tired of the merry-go-round, but the arrival of players such as Sutton, Thompson and Lennon changed both the dynamic and atmosphere surrounding the whole squad that possibly it was like as if he himself had just arrived at the club. Most importantly, Larsson scored in the first league game of the season (coincidentally again against Dundee Utd) to get him off the starting blocks, his first competitive goal for Celtic in around 10 months.
A great start for Celtic in the first run, with 6 wins on the trot (2 in the UEFA cup) and we were to next face Rangers. The Huns were arrogant and bloated from their pre-season spending, so the match was set to play a part in how the season was to go for both sides, and there was only one team in the game: Celtic running out 6-2 victors (since dubbed "Demolition Derby"). The game has become legendary and Larsson stands out more than anyone else. His famous chip goal has been watched, analysed and slavered over more than any other in our history (Nakamura's 2006 free-kick goal v Man U is the only contender to Larsson's). The knock-down from Sutton, then the run from the half-way line, taking on and humiliating the Rangers players (nutmegging one of them), before finally executing the most perfect of chips over the hapless Rangers keeper's head and into the back of the net; it is sheer world-class, and can be little bettered.
You could go on! Larsson's place in this game is immense, and his overall play showed a brimming new confidence not only in the team but in his own game as well. The pain from the injury was history and he'd come back from it a greater player and hungrier than ever to make up for lost time. Larsson at this point had made himself a legend with the Celtic fans, and his name was sung more heartily and with greater devotion than ever before. The match was a turning point for both Larsson and Celtic, and the Larsson's Cult was truly born and under way.
Larsson cemented a perfect partnership with Chris Sutton, who in many ways was a very different character. Regardless, both were single-minded in their determination to see Celtic achieve the best and put Rangers in their place and each played well off of each other, banging in the goals taking us further ahead of the Huns. With players such as Thompson, Lennon and Petrov, Larsson had the best support a striker could get. We won the league by 15 points, with Henrik scoring a phenomenal 35 goals in 37 games!!!! Note, Tore Andre Flo scored 11 goals to be Rangers highest scorer and he cost the Huns a fortune!
The Larsson-inspired team completed an exceptional Treble that season, something that even the most optimistic Celtic fan at the start of the season would not believe could happen. It was our first since Jock Stein was manager at the club. For his achievements, Larsson was awarded the European Golden Boot for highest goal scorer in Europe, catapulting his profile and name throughout the football world. Additionally he was awarded the SFWA footballer of the year award.
2001-02 was another important season, and again Larsson excelled. We didn't win the treble again, but we qualified for the Champions League group stages for the first time, overcoming Ajax in the preliminary round with a three-two aggregate victory with Larsson the creator for Agathe's goal in the 3-1 win in Amsterdam. A tough group beckoned, but Larsson again was an inspiration, scoring a penalty in our opening game against Juventus and scoring the winner v Porto in our second game (our first victory in the Champs Lge). Famously the team failed to go through to the knock-out stages, even though we amassed 9 pts (just one behind Porto who came second), but it was our first time in the Champs Lge and it was a good learning experience for all. We were knocked out the UEFA cup (which we had subsequently qualified for), losing in a shoot-out where Larsson missed a penalty. Regardless, at home we won the league with Larsson scoring 29 goals in 33 games, another phenomenal rate.
If there is one season for which Larsson will be remembered for more than most, it will be the 2002-03 season (the "Seville season"). So much has been written about the season that there can be little to add, yet people should remember that we actually didn't win any trophies! The Huns won the league and we lost in the UEFA Cup Final. So why was it all so magical? The reason was simply that the club regained its pride, having to confront and defeat stronger opposition each round in the UEFA cup, and each time defeating the odds in doing do.
The talisman for the season was Henrik Larsson again, and his part in all this was phenomenal. As the matches got tougher on the Road to Seville (the final), Larsson upped his game each time. Goals against Blackburn home & away stunned their manager who arrogantly claimed that it was Men against Boys (where Celtic were just the boys) after the first leg. Larsson's winning goal in the home game made him the highest scoring player for a Scottish club in European competitions. Add in goals against Celta Vigo, Liverpool and Boavista, and he was the difference that took us to the final. He likely would have scored against Stuttgart also but had to miss those games due to a fractured jaw; the importance of these victories at least showed to the wider audience that Celtic were not a one-man team as some critics had called us (a player being criticised for being too good!!!).
The final was a bittersweet day for Larsson. Till then the greatest moment in Larsson's club career, and the team were prepared for everything but the 3-2 defeat was a difficult one to take. Larsson was just untouchable, and many put his performance in the match as the best in his Celtic career. So to be on the losing side is not an easy thing to take. His two goals in the final were as perfect a set of headers as you can ever get, both times dragging us from behind Porto to stay in contention in the match. The goals are worth watching again and again. The day was about more than Larsson, but without him it is unimaginable that we would have achieved what we had without him or got as close as we did. There were so many barriers to overcome (mentally, financially, physically etc) to get to the final, and Larsson made us believe, and believe we did regardless of the final result.
Larsson's final season was 2003-04. We won the league and cup double again, and he scored 30 goals in 37 league games, the highlight of which was seeing us whitewash Rangers by beating them 5 times in 5 matches in the season. In Europe, we again close to qualifying through the group stages to the KO stages of Champs League but again fell at the last hurdle, and fell into the UEFA Cup. To show that last season was no one-off, we made it to the quarter-finals of the UEFA cup where we lost to Villarreal over two legs. Having overcome Barcelona in the previous round, it was bittersweet that we didn't reach the UEFA cup final once more during Larsson's career at the club.
Throughout his final season Larsson had made it clear that this was to be his last, and nothing was to change his mind. Continuous offers and pleas form the fans & management for him to stay fell on deaf ears, but that was his style, In retrospect, possibly it was best he left on a high rather than us watch his ability slowly decline over coming years, but just nobody wanted it to ever end. In many ways, he saved us in so many games in that last season of his, but you could see he was winding down already (even then he was better than anyone else in Scotland). In any case, it was giving others a chance to win the "man of the match" award instead of himself which was the the standard result.
His last game, in a farewell friendly against Seville, was emotional for everyone, and he summed up his whole time at Celtic as perfectly as only he can do: "It's been so special for me to play here," Larsson announced in a brief address to the crowd after the game. A banner was held up with the line "Henrik, Thanks for the Memories" (in Swedish) which summed it up from the fans. Blessed memories.
Will we ever see his like again? Who knows but it wasn't just the goals, it was the skill, the quality, the majestic ability to deceive the defenders and spring a surprise. It's usually the characters everyone seems to remember and what they did off the pitch like Best, Jinky, McAvennie, Maradonna et al, but there was none of that with Larsson. He was the perfect professional both on and off the pitch with not a single bad word to say about him. He broke domestic scoring records, but his play was two-way and he created as many chances for his team mates as he scored for himself. His unselfish style was refreshing as it was brilliant to watch. He is a benchmark against which we doubt can ever see being equalled as a complete package of a player and person.
In many ways, it is hard to describe how much he meant to all of us at Celtic. He was one of the finest players in the world, and he loved us as much as we loved him. He gave more to the club than anyone could possibly ask.
His departure to Barcelona was painful to see him leave, but no one will ever forget him. It was a privilege to see him play for Celtic.
Post-CelticIn 2004, after having moved to Barcelona, he was booed by a section of the support (the muppets!!!!) when he came on as a substitute against Celtic at Celtic Park, and the went on to score against Celtic in the Champions League match, which he didn't celebrate. After the game he said "It was very difficult for me to celebrate my goal because I had so many great times here..."
In 2004, The Swedish Football Association bestowed upon him the accolade "greatest Swedish football player of the last 50 years."
Larsson's international record is impressive with 37 goals in 106 games, many of which he played in midfield or as a winger. He has always made his mark on big occasions and has scored at three World Cups (1994 at which Sweden came 3rd, 2002 and 2006), and two European Championships (2000 and 2004).
In 2005 Larsson returned briefly to Glasgow to receive an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde, in recognition of his contribution to football and for his charity work.
In January of 2006, Henrik announced his decision to leave his current club F.C. Barcelona and return to Sweden at the end of his current contract in July 2006, revealing that he politely refused a verbal promise by club president Joan Laporta to extend his contract to the end of the next season. Larsson thinks that at 34 and having a very successful career behind him, it is time to retire from Barça and enjoy his last years in his homeland.
In April 2006 it was reported that team mate Ronaldinho said of Larsson- "With Henrik leaving us at the end of the season this club is losing a great scorer, no question. But I am also losing a great friend. Henrik was my idol and now that I am playing next to him it is fantastic. He is a real friend and that is a pleasure. I just want to enjoy the remaining time he has with us rather than dwell on what we will be missing when he's gone. I haven't tried to convince Henrik to stay at Barcelona. I respect him so much that I can't try to influence his decision. It's something he has thought about for a long time. I'm not happy he's leaving but I'm not going to pressure him at all. At Henrik's age many players announce their retirement from international football but no one I know his age is at the great physical level Henrik is at right now. He could play at the highest level for a long time."
Larsson featured at the 2006 World Cup in Germany which was probably his last World Cup. He played in all 4 of Sweden's games, scoring a last minute equalizer in their final group game against England to take them through to the second round where they lost to Germany.
In May 2006 he was given the honour of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by the British Consulate in Barcelona, in name of Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to British football during the years he spent playing at Glasgow. In the same month, he won his first UEFA Champions League medal after coming on as a substitute and assisting both of Barcelona's goals in a 2-1 win over Arsenal FC.
Thierry Henry paid tribute to Larsson's contribution to Barcelona's win after the game, saying "People always talk about Ronaldinho, and everything but I didn't see him today - I saw Henrik Larsson. Two times he came on - he changed the game, that is what killed the game - sometimes you talk about Ronaldinho and Eto'o and people like that, you need to talk about the proper footballer who made the difference and that was Henrik Larsson tonight...". Indeed his ability to give Barcelona the cutting edge required to overcome Arsenal was noted by the international press.
In Dec 2006, Henrik Larsson decided to sign a 2.5 month loan contract with Man Utd starting from Jan 2007. Ironically this came only one week after Celtic beat Man Utd in the Champs Lge group stage to go through to the knock-out phase for the first time. Opinion from the Celtic support was divided, but all hoped him the best, and he prospered at the club for his short stint and is regarded as the difference between having won the league and otherwise with Wayne Rooney in particular benefiting from Larsson beside him. He was begged by the Man U management and supporters to stay till the end of the season for Man U, but as a man of his word he went back to Helsingborg.
When he finally brought his 21-year playing career to an end in October 2009 Helsingborgs retired his number 17 shirt. Two months later he was tempted into management, with Swedish second division team Landskrona Bois.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish Cup||League cup||Other|
|Man Utd||01/01/2007||11/03/2007||Loan||5 (2)||1||3 (1)||1||0 (0)||0||2 (0)||1|
|Helsingborgs||01/07/2006|| 31/12/2009 ||Free||15 (0)||8||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Barcelona||30/06/2004||01/07/2006||Free||20 (20)||13||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||6 (8)||2|
|Celtic||25/07/1997||30/06/2004||£ 650,000||218 (3)||173||26 (0)||23||13 (0)||11||55 (0)||35|
|Feyenoord||01/08/1993||25/07/1997|| ||101 (0)||26||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Totals|| ||359 (25)||221||29 (1)||24||13 (0)||11||63 (8)||38|
| ||goals / game||0.57||0.8||0.84||0.53|
Goals Against opposition
|Sorted by Team|
|St Patrick's Ath||1|
|Champions League 1998-1999|
|St. Patrick’s Athletic (Away)||1|
|Vitória Guimarães (Home)||1|
|Vitória Guimarães (Away)||1|
|FC Zürich (Away)||1|
|Cwmbran Town (Home)||2|
|Hapoel Tel-Aviv (Home)||2|
|Hapoel Tel-Aviv (Away)||1|
|And then came Lyon...|
|Jeunesse d’Esch (Away)||1|
|HJK Helsinki (Home)||2|
|Girondins de Bordeau (Away)||1|
|Champions League + UEFA Cup 2001-2002|
|FC Porto (Home)||1|
|Valencia CF (Home)||1|
|Champions League + UEFA Cup 2002-2003|
|FC Basel (Home)||1|
|Suduva FK Marijampole (Home)||3|
|Blackburn Rovers (Home)||1|
|Blackburn Rovers (Away)||1|
|RC Celta de Vigo (Home)||1|
|FC Porto (Neutral)||2|
|Champions League + UEFA Cup 2003-2004|
|FBK Kaunas (Away)||1|
|MTK Budapest (Away)||1|
|RSC Anderlecht (Home)||1|
|FK Teplice (Home)||2|
|Goals v Rangers|
|2 Home 5-1 game|
|2 Home 6-2 game|
|1 Away 1-5 game|
|1 Away 3-0 game|
|2 Home 3-3 game|
|1 Home 1-0 Cup Game|
|1 Hampden 3-1 Game|
|1 away 2-1 Game||_____|
- World Cup
- Third-Placed with Sweden: 1994
- Dutch Cup
- 1993-94, 1994-95
- Scottish League
- Scottish League Cup
- Scottish Cup
- UEFA Cup
- 2002-03 (runners-up)
- 2002-03 (runners-up)
Post-Celtic with Barcelona
- European Cup/UEFA Champions League
- Spanish League
- 2004-05, 2005-06
- Spanish Super Cup
- Golden Boot: 2000-01
- MBE: for services to Scottish football 2006
- Greatest Swedish football player of the last 50 years (Swedish FA, 2004)
- Miscellaneous articles
- "King in Exile" interview - Herald (Feb 2006)
- "A Day in Helsingborg" (Psychoheart)
- "Celtic always special to me" (Irish Independent)
- "Celtic v Rangers" better than 'El Classico'
- Larsson's testimonial (BBC)
- Larsson's last game at Parkhead (BBC)
- 2 On 1 interview broadcast 21/3/07
Comments"Henrik was more than a player for Celtic..he imbued us with a pride in our heroes, a talismanic figure who on and off the pitch was the best asset Celtic have EVER had. He was without doubt one of the very best strikers of his generation in World football. He was an immaculate role model for our youngsters. A family man with a deep rooted love and understanding of his place at Celtic. A foreigner who came to understand and appreciate out history, and a man who rose above the sectarian divide to be appreciated around this parochial little country of ours. He was the best header of a ball I've ever seen. He could score with both feet. He was devastating both inside and outside the box. He worked for the team more than any player I've ever seen, and he never complained. He was the hardest, dirtiest wee bastard you would ever hate to play against, and he was underestimated by many to their eventual cost.
"In Seville, he gave the greatest individual performance I've witnessed from a Celtic player since Jimmy Johnstone v Red Star Belgrade, yet was simply devastated at losing. No place for personal glory with the Looter of Helsingborg.
"I've never enjoyed watching any Celtic player as much as I enjoyed watching Henrik Larsson. The day of his last against Dundee Utd was the most bittersweet experience I've had at a football match.
"I miss him dreadfully. He gave Celtic more than he ever took from them.
"Quite simply an all time Celtic Legend, and it was my greatest privilege to be there to see him. "
Fatboab from KStreet summarising what Larsson meant to him and to the Celtic support (July 2008)
Latest page update: made by joebloggscity
, Jul 5 2012, 9:30 AM EDT
(about this update
About This Update
Edited by joebloggscity
17 words added
- complete history)
More Info: links to this page