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Henrik Larsson's Fan Q & A With FourFourTwo Gives A Delightful Look At His Career

Henrik Larsson's Fan Q & A With FourFourTwo Gives A Delightful Look At His Career
By Mikey Traynor Updated

Celtic legend Henrik Larsson is one of the most universally respected footballers (unless you align yourself with Rangers, obviously) around as the Swedish striker earned fans far and wide for his goalscoring and attitude at Celtic, Man Utd, and Barcelona.

He played in World Cups and European Championships with Sweden, he played at the highest level in terms of club compeitions, and won the European golden boot in his most prolific season in Glasgow, but the best thing about him was that he was a genuinely good guy who very rarely had a bad word to say about anyone.

In a recent fan Q & A for FourFourTwo, Larsson's likability shone through as he gave some outstanding answers to some interesting questions.

We picked out some of the answers that stuck out to us, many of them featuring extremely kind words for people he has worked with down the years.

On denying Rangers their 10th title in a row:

What is your favourite memory from your time at Celtic?

There are so many! The day that we stopped Rangers winning 10 titles in a row, the day that we secured the Treble and the day we reached the UEFA Cup final. I’ve probably missed about 50 others. I didn’t know much about Celtic when I arrived; about seven of us joined at the same time and we didn’t really understand the pressure.

We came into a situation where we had to stop Rangers from winning 10 straight titles – they’d have been the first team to do it. We didn’t understand all of that, which was why we managed to keep our heads. If we’d been there longer and known we had to stop Rangers from winning 10 in a row, it would have been much more difficult.

On Martin O'Neill's amazing motivational skills:

Who was the best manager that you worked under in your playing career?

I had many good managers: Wim Jansen, Martin O’Neill, Frank Rijkaard and Alex Ferguson to name just a few. And Martin knew how to get everybody motivated. I remember when we were about to go onto the field at Liverpool in the season we reached the UEFA Cup final – we’d drawn 1-1 at Celtic Park so had to score at Anfield. The talk he gave before the game made everything sink in for me. I said to myself, ‘F**king hell, I will have no regrets after this game.’

On his incredible comeback from injury:

After your leg break you came back better than ever. Why was that?

A lot of people did everything possible for me to come back a better player: Bill Leach the surgeon, physios Brian Scott and Kenny McMillan, Graham Quinn the masseur and Jim Hendry the fitness guy.

I suddenly struggled with the simple things in life that you take for granted, like going to the loo. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been in that situation understands what it’s like. Those things made me want to fight even harder to come back, play football and give it everything I had.

On the infamous UEFA Cup final against Porto:

Was the 2003 UEFA Cup Final loss to Porto the worst day of your career?

Yes. We had Porto on the fork – I’d scored two, but we still couldn’t win. That was very hard to take. Winning a European trophy with Celtic would have meant so much to us and the fans. There were so many people who travelled without a ticket – they just wanted to be there in Seville to see us win... [pauses with emotion in his voice] but we didn’t manage to do it. I still get goosebumps talking about it now. That Porto team went on to win the Champions League. That’s testament to how good a team we had that year.

On being Ronaldinho's idol:

Ronaldinho described you as his idol. How was your relationship with him?

He used to joke every morning, “Hey, idolo, idolo!” That was great! It wasn’t just about what he did on the pitch; you have to realise the pressure he was under at a club like Barcelona. I take my hat off to him for still being able to come in every morning with a big smile on his face. He’s a great human being.

On the biggest regret of his career:

Do you regret spending only two months at Manchester United in 2007?

Yes, that’s the only regret I have in my career. I should’ve stayed, as it would have meant I got a Premier League winner’s medal, and I would have stayed for one more season. But I still had a contract with Helsingborgs and I feel that when you sign a contract, you have to see it out.

Everything was professional at United. When I had to attend a christening for my brother’s children, the club ordered a plane to take me there after a match. United really take care of all their players.

What a man. Singling out the medial staff that helped him recover from a broken leg by name shows how much their hard work meant to him.

It was a cracking interview, and you can read the questions and answers in full over on FourFourTwo.com.


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