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7. Henrik Larsson

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1997-2004

Date of Birth: 20/09/1971

Height: 5ft 10in

Position: Forward

Place of Birth: Helsingborg, Sweden

National Team: Sweden

International Caps(Goals): 106(37)

Following a contract dispute with Feyenoord, he was signed by Celtic manager Wim Jansen in July 1997 for a fee of �650,000. He won 4 SPL Titles, 2 Scottish League Cup and 3 Scottish Cups during his tenure. He was the top goalscorer in the Scottish Premier League for five of the six seasons that he competed in, the only exception being the 1999�2000 season, most of which Larsson missed due to the injury suffered in Lyon. Larsson was also a consistent goalscorer in international competition. He scored two goals in the 2003 UEFA Cup Final, although Portuguese opponents Porto went on to win 3�2. Celtic fans selected Larsson (the only player from outside Scotland) in the greatest ever Celtic team, when a vote was held in 2002.

His debut against Hibernian at Easter Road was inauspicious. Larsson, only just on as a late substitute, inadvertently passed the ball to Hibernian player Chic Charnley who then went on to score, resulting in a 2�1 defeat for Celtic. He did not fare much better in his first European game, scoring an own goal, although Celtic did go on to win 6�3 against Tirol Innsbruck. After his poor start to the season Larsson quickly endeared himself to the Celtic support. Initially Larsson played the role of support striker alongside Darren Jackson, Simon Donnelly and later Harald Brattbakk. His work rate and unselfish play led to many assists for his team mates. In November 1997 Larsson won his first medal for the club with a 3�0 win over Dundee United at Ibrox Stadium giving Celtic the Scottish League Cup. He scored the opener in the final day of the league season against St. Johnstone to clinch the championship for Celtic. It was the club's first league championship win since the double winning season 1987�88 and stopped Old Firm rivals Rangers from breaking Celtic's record of nine titles in a row. Larsson finished the season as the clubs top goal scorer with 16 league goals and 18 goals in all competitions.

Larsson's second season with the club saw a change in management with Dr. Jozef Venglos taking the Parkhead hotseat following Wim Jansen's resignation. The 1998�99 season was to prove ultimately disappointing as Celtic finished runners up to rivals Rangers in both the newly established SPL and in the Scottish Cup. During this season Larsson also made the scoresheet for the first time in an Old Firm match chalking up a brace in a 5�1 victory in November and scoring the equaliser in the 2�2 Ne'erday match at Ibrox Stadium. Throughout the season Larsson forged a mutually prolific partnership with diminutive Slovak playmaker ?ubom�Morav?� The season however did mark the player's coming of age as a goal scorer. Playing in a more advanced striker's role Larsson notched up 38 goals ending the season as both Celtic and Scotland's top goal scorer. He was also awarded the honours of SPFA Players' Player of the Year, SFWA Footballer of the Year and Swedish Footballer of the Year.

The 1999�2000 season saw yet another change in management for Celtic. Former Liverpool and England winger, John Barnes replaced the outgoing Venglos to become player-manager at the club. The season started very brightly for Larsson as he notched up 8 league goals in only 9 games for the club. During Celtic's 1�0 defeat in a UEFA Cup tie against Lyon, Larsson suffered a career-threatening injury, breaking his leg in two places. This resulted in him spending eight months on the sidelines, only returning on the last day of the 1999�2000 season. John Barnes cited Larsson's injury as being a "big factor" in why he was sacked by Celtic after only months in the position. By the time Larsson had completed his rehabilitation John Barnes had been sacked and replaced by Director of Football and Celtic legend Kenny Dalglish as interim manager. Larsson made his comeback with a substitute appearance against Dundee United at Celtic Park on the final day of the SPL season.

Following the arrival Martin O'Neill in the summer of 2000, Larsson went on to have what would become his most successful season for Celtic. As Larsson forged a prolific partnership with new arrival Chris Sutton he scored an extraordinary total of 35 league goals in 38 league games to become SPL Top Goalscorer and to win the European Golden Boot. The season saw Celtic lift the domestic treble of the Scottish League Cup, Scottish Cup and the Scottish Premier League. Larsson scored an impressive hat-trick in a 3�0 win over Kilmarnock at Hampden Park to win the Scottish League Cup as well as a brace in the Scottish Cup in a 3�0 win over Hibernian. Other personal highlights for Larsson included scoring his 50th goal of the season against Rangers at Ibrox in a 3�0 victory and finishing the season with a total of 53 goals in all competitions. He was again voted SPFA Players' Player of the Year as well as SFWA Footballer of the Year. Larsson's form over the season was such that experienced opposition coach Dick Advocaat was moved to observe, "Larsson is one of the best strikers in Europe, maybe the world. If you watch Batistuta, he is sometimes not seen for 90 minutes but he scores two goals. Larsson has even more, because, besides being a good player and goalscorer, he has a tremendous workrate."

Larsson's fifth season at the club yielded a second consecutive SPL title for the club. It also marked the club's first foray into the UEFA Champions League group stage. Larsson scored his first Champions League goal with a penalty in Celtic's opening fixture in a controversial 3�2 defeat to Juventus in Turin. He scored again for Celtic in the Champions league campaign with the solitary goal in a 1�0 victory over Porto and again from the penalty spot against Juventus in a thrilling 4�3 victory at Celtic Park. Despite achieving a Scottish record of nine points in the group stage, Celtic failed to qualify for the latter stages and parachuted into the UEFA Cup. The club were drawn against Valencia with Larsson scoring the 2nd leg goal to take the tie into penalties which Celtic eventually lost. Larsson once again ended the season as SPL Top Goalscorer with 29 goals from 33 league appearances.

The 2002�03 season proved to be one of the most memorable in Celtic's history as the club reached the UEFA Cup Final. After losing out on a place in the UEFA Champions League following a shock away goals defeat to Basel Celtic parachuted into the UEFA Cup. The first round saw the paired with Lithuanian side Suduva with Larsson scoring a hat-trick in the 8�1 first leg victory as they progressed 10�1 on aggregate after adding a 2�0 away win. The 2nd round saw former Ranger's player-manager Graeme Souness' Blackburn Rovers side visit Celtic Park in a matched dubbed The Battle of Britain. After a tough fought game Celtic came went into the 2nd leg at Ewood Park 1�0 courtesy of a late Larsson goal. After comments from the Blackburn players in the media who felt their team deserved the win claiming that the tie was "like men against boys", Larsson answered the critics with the opening strike in a 2�0 away win. The following rounds saw Celtic see off Celta Vigo 2�2 on away goals and VfB Stuttgart 5�4 on aggregate. Larsson was to miss both ties with VfB Stuttgart following a broken jaw in an SPL match against Livingston. Larsson returned from injury in time for Celtic's Battle of Britain II Quarter Final clash with 2001 winners Liverpool. Despite Celtic's chances of progression being written off by press on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish Border Celtic defeated Liverpool 3�1 on aggregate with Larsson scoring the opener in a 1�1 1st leg draw followed by a 2�0 Celtic victory at Anfield Stadium. Celtic met unfashionable Portuguese side Boavista in the semi-final. After a cautious game at Celtic Park, Boavista took the advantage on away goals into the 2nd leg after a 1�1 draw in which Larsson scored the equaliser after missing a penalty. The 2nd leg saw Boavista attempt to play out their advantage but Larsson struck for Celtic after a one-two with John Hartson with only ten minute remaining. The goal sent Celtic through to their first European Final since 1970. The final in Seville against Jos�ourinho's Porto saw Celtic finish as credible runners-up after a hard fought 3�2 defeat after extra time. The match saw Larsson pick up the man of the match award after equalising twice for Celtic with two sublime headers. Larsson also finished runner-up to FC Porto's Derlei in the competition's Top Scorer Charts. Larsson described the pain of the defeat as being the worst moment of his career, including his leg break. More disappointment was to follow as Celtic finished up runners up to Rangers on the last day of the SPL season. 2003 also saw Larsson voted as the Greatest Swedish Footballer of the Last 50 Years as part of the UEFA Jubilee Awards. He also finished the season yet again the Top SPL Goalscorer with 28 goals from 35 games.

Larsson's seventh and final season for Celtic saw the club lift the SPL Title and the Scottish Cup. After parachuting from the UEFA Champions League, Celtic also managed to reach the UEFA Cup Quarter Finals eliminating Barcelona on the way before crashing out 3�1 on aggregate to Villarreal. Larsson scored his only UEFA Champions League goal of the season against Anderlecht in a 3�1 win at Celtic Park. He added to his European goal tally with the equaliser in a 1st Leg Quarter Final tie at Celtic Park versus Villarreal. After previously having a credible goal chalked off for handball the match ended 1�1. This was to prove Larsson's final European goal for Celtic. Celtic executed their revenge for the previous season's heartache on rivals Rangers by defeating the club in all five Old Firm fixtures that season. Larsson's final Old Firm goal came in a 2�1 SPL win at Ibrox, an opening goal which was a header from a cross. Larsson's final competitive game at home for Celtic came in a league match against Dundee United. In an emotional match, Larsson scored two goals as Celtic went on to win 3�1. In his last competitive appearance for Celtic, he scored two goals (with either foot) to defeat Dunfermline Athletic and win the 2004 Scottish Cup Final. He gave a teary goodbye at his testimonial match against Sevilla in front of a capacity crowd at Celtic Park, Glasgow. In all, Larsson scored 242 goals for Celtic in 315 matches and left the club as the SPL's All-Time Leading Goalscorer with 158 goals, a record that stood until 30 December 2009 when Rangers' Kris Boyd surpassed it, although Henrik done it in less games than it took Boyd to. He was also voted Swedish Footballer of the Year for the second time for the 2003�04 season.

Since leaving Celtic Park in June 2004, Larsson has returned to play for Celtic in testimonial matches twice. First in May 2005, for Jackie McNamara's testimonial against Ireland, which was also incidentally Martin O'Neill's final match in charge. His second guest appearance was in May 2008 for the Phil O'Donnell Memorial Match. Larsson played as part of the Celtic 1998 championship-winning side against the Motherwell 1991 Scottish Cup winning side. The match was played in memory of Larsson's former team mate Phil O'Donnell, who died earlier in the season in a match for Motherwell against Dundee United. Larsson, who scored in the 5�1 victory for Celtic, left Sweden's national training camp early to take part in the game.

wish his son would hurry up an grow quickly ,,,lmao, i'm serious.

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My favourite player. McStay was before Larsson came along :king:

Kevza i loved him as well,wat a player he came back from an knee injury was'nt it that whore Fergusson who wrecked him, went on to play for dunfermlydown .

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My earliest memory of taking any real notice of Henrick was actually playing at left mid for Sweden in 2 games against England.
He was young and relatively inexperienced compared to who he was up against but I remember him giving Paul Ince (then in his prime at Man Utd) a horrendous 90 minutes in both games.
Henrik took the pash out of him so much so Ince effectively spent the whole duration of both games attempting(unsuccessfully mind)to kick him off the park.

Several weeks later I watched him in a UEFA Cup game for Feyenord and he was electric as an attacking left mid.

I knew as soon as he appeared we had a wee belter at Celtic and the dread locks just made him look so cool in the hoops too!

Absolutely fantastic Pro...superb.

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2 hours ago, northeastghirl15 said:

we've got tickets too. Just need to sort out a wee overnight and we're sorted. :D

Nice one. Selling out fast, They have opened part of the top tier now. 

northeastghirl15 likes this

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