Larsson started his professional career playing for Högaborg at the age of 17. He subsequently moved to
Helsingborgs IF, where he scored 50 goals in 56 appearances. It was this sensational form that attracted the
interest of Dutch club Feyenoord, who signed him for £295,000 in 1993. This was despite the fact he was negotiating
a contract with Grasshopper-Club Zürich at the time.
Following a complicated contract dispute with Feyenoord, he was signed by Celtic manager Wim Jansen in July 1997
for a fee of £650,000. His debut against Hibernian at Easter Road was less than spectacular: he inadvertently
passed the ball to Hibs player, Chic Charnley, resulting in a 2-1 loss for Celtic. He didn't fare much better
in his first European game, scoring an own goal, although Celtic did run out 6-3 winners.
Larsson scored 242 goals for Celtic, in 315 matches, making him Celtic's third all-time record goal scorer
(in all competitions). This is more remarkable in the fact that he missed almost a year having suffered a horrific
injury, breaking his leg in two places, whilst playing against Olympique Lyonnais in a UEFA cup match in France.
In 2001 he won the "Golden Boot" award for being Europe's most prolific goal scorer, with 35 league goals. His
total in all competitions that season was 53. In 2003, he scored two superb goals in the UEFA Cup Final, although
opponents Porto went on to win 3-2. His goalscoring feats on the continent for Celtic mean he holds the record for
number of goals scored for a club from British Isles in European matches. Celtic fans still hail him as a hero
today, and he is considered the greatest ever foreign player in the history of the Scottish league by the fans of
At the end of the 2003-04 season Larsson signed a one year contract with Barcelona with an option for a second
year. In his last appearance for Celtic, he scored twice to defeat Dunfermline Athletic and win the Scottish Cup.
He gave a teary goodbye at his testimonial match against Sevilla.
Larsson's first season at Barcelona was plagued by injury, and he played only a nominal part in Barça's La Liga
win. He did, however, score against Celtic in a Champions League match. After the game he said "It was very
difficult for me to celebrate my goal because I had so many great times here...". Despite having missed most of
the 2004-05 season, Barcelona took the option to extend his contract. In 2005-06 Larsson scored 10 goals as
Barcelona won La Liga for a second consecutive year.
In January 2006, Henrik announced that at the end of his contract, which ended in July, he would leave Barcelona
and return to Sweden to end his career. He revealed that he had politely refused a verbal promise by club president
Joan Laporta to extend his contract to the end of the next season. News of his departure provoked praise from his
teamates, including Ronaldinho - "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."
In his final game for Barcelona, he won his first UEFA Champions League medal. Larsson came on as a substitute and
assisted 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:
The New York Times
It was created with a flick of Henrik Larsson's right foot, a moment born of experience and craft. Larsson has
said he is retiring from this level of soccer after this game. He had only just come on the field as a
replacement but he knew exactly what he was doing. He has vision. He is 34 and he has been in the game for the
whole of his adult life and what he could do once he could repeat another four minutes and Larsson again showed
the ability to find the pass that destroys defenses. This time he spotted Juliano Belletti, another replacement,
who with almost his first touch of the night powered the ball inside the near post of Arsenal's replacement
goalkeeper, Manuel Almunia
The Glasgow Herald
However, Larsson, a free transfer among an array of multi-million pound talent, was undoubtedly the difference
between the sides. He set up the equalising goal with a delicate sidefooted pass to Samuel Eto'o, who took two
touches before dinking the ball past Manuel Almunia.. Rijkaard hailed Larsson's role in the victory but said there
was no chance of the Swede staying at Camp Nou for one more season. Larsson signed for Barcelona from Celtic in
July, 2004. "He is a wonderful player, and a very important player for us," said Rijkaard later. "He is always
ready and prepared to come on and really help the team when we need him. "We spoke to Henrik [about staying at
Barcelona] but he has made his decision. He says now is the right time for him to go back home to Sweden."
Larsson, as ever, displayed his usual humility afterwards and preferred to concentrate on the effort shown by his
team-mates. "It was a tough match and the whole team deserve credit for the win," he said. "It was an unbelievable
way for me to finish my career at Barcelona. I have had a fantastic experience here in my two years, with two
league titles and now this. It's amazing."
After Sweden's elimination from the 2006 World Cup on June 24, 2006, Larsson joined up with his former club,
Helsingborgs IF. He made his second debut for his hometown club against Hammarby in the Swedish Cup on July 6,
Henrik's father is from the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa. He is married and has two children,
Jordan (born 1997) and Janelle (born 2002). He is one of the first black players to appear for Sweden in