Henrik Larsson has been one of the most dazzling strikers in the game of football/soccer in the last decade. He willed his threatened career to continue and flourish after breaking his leg in two places. He often forced his will onto the game and he often left his signature. Larsson was a beast in the air, a clinical finisher, a superb athlete, and a humble, down to Earth man.
He was born on September 20, 1971 in Helsingborg, Sweden. His professional career began with Hogaborg when he was a mere 17 years old. A few years later, he switched to his hometown team, Helsingborgs IF, where he was a monster. He made 56 appearances and scored a ridiculous 50 goals.
Larsson was on the move again at 22 years of age and he found himself at Feyenoord, one of the three biggest teams in the Netherlands. In 1997, his career took off when at attracted Celtic’s attention. The Scottish club secured Larsson’s services, but the beginning was slightly bumpy.
In his first match for his new team against Hibernian, he accidentally passed to a player on the other team who subsequently scored the winning goal. Henrik Larsson quickly put that behind him and went on to have seven spectacular years for Celtic.
He was never hard to spot on the field. All one had to look for was the flying dreadlocks. Or look for the diving man near goal. Many of his goals came on flying headers or perfectly placed chip shots over oft-stumbling keepers. That’s not to say that he didn’t have his fair share of volleys, lace shots, and long-range screamers. His precision and accuracy set him on a level with and above many of the world’s best.
In 315 games for Celtic, Larsson scored 242 goals, third on Celtic’s list of all-time scorers. Undoubtedly, he would have had more, but he missed almost an entire year after breaking his leg in two places in a game against Olympique Lyonnais in 1999. Larsson recovered and shaved off his dreadlocks. He hasn’t let his hair grow back since.
Larsson’s performances didn’t drop off at all. He won the Golden Boot award in 2001, which is awarded to the top goal-scorer in all of Europe. Larsson had 30 league goals and 53 total goals from all competitions that season. During his tenure with Celtic, he helped his team win four league championships and three league cups.
In 2004, Larsson left Celtic and went to Spanish giants, Barcelona, where he joined superstars Ronaldinho and Eto’o. His first season was riddled with injuries, but he contributed in his sophomore year, especially in the Champions League Final. Down 1-0 to 10-man Arsenal, Larsson entered the fray as a substitute and set up both Barcelona goals that saw off the spirited Arsenal side. He showed that even at 34 years old, he could take over a game in the span of a few minutes.
Larsson came full circle when he returned to his hometown team, Helsingborgs IF in 2006. He wasn’t there for long before he joined Manchester United on loan for 2007, but he’ll return to his hometown in Sweden in mid-March, 2007.
Larsson has also starred at the international level where he’s played in 93 games and scored 36 goals for Sweden, though he didn’t play in his normal forward position. He was often used as a midfielder or a winger. He helped his country to a third place finish in the 1994 World Cup. Larsson retired from international duty after the 2006 World Cup.
Henrik Larsson will be most known for his seven brilliant years at Celtic where he dominated the competition. Though his career is winding down, he still receives the admiration and utmost respect from his peers. Many former teammates have called it an honor to play alongside the legend. Larsson is married and has two children. He has refused offers to play internationally again and an offer from Manchester United to extend his loan period.
One article is not enough to describe this phenomenal talent and time and words are limited to do so. We have not even scratched the surface in this article as there are numerous things to talk about his professional and personal life. To cut a long story short, he has served as an inspiration for millions of youngsters who idolize him and for them there is the football index referral code which they can use to register on football index and fulfill their dreams.