Beyond that Swedish football is associated with the figure of the giant Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there is another player who marked a stage in the selection of the Nordic country and who also shone in important football clubs in Europe. Henrik Larsson, remembered scorer of the Swedish national team, took his conquests to different parts of the world.
After starting his soccer career in his country, he landed at the Feyenoord Rotterdam where he played for four seasons before changing his destination: in 1997 he put on the shirt of the Celtic FC, from Scotland, an institution in which he became a star of the Old Continent thanks to his goals – he scored 242 in 313 matches – and the eight titles he won with the Scottish team.
And it was precisely in his time in UK soccer that Larsson He went through one of the worst moments of his life and suffered the death of his brother from drug use. This was reported by the former Swedish attacker in dialogue with the podcast The Lockdown Tactics. “When I was in Scotland my brother was hooked on drugs. Knowing the things he knew and having to go out and perform every week was difficult. In the end, my brother died of an overdose"
Faced with one of the most difficult scenarios, Larsson explained that he needed professional help to overcome lost size, as well as to give emotional support to his parents. “The pressure and concern from my parents every night and mine too. It is not easy and it is important to talk about it. It is important to share how you feel and that they can help you. That help must be professional. I went when my brother passed away and I felt much better afterwards. You have to talk to someone and open up so they can help you. Otherwise, you will feel guilty about certain things, "he said.
Once he overcame his brother's death, Larsson's contract with Scottish Celtic ended in 2004. And it was there that one of the world's most renowned clubs knocked on his door. That version of Barcelona by Frank Rijkaard who had Ronaldinho, to the Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o and some young people Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta It was the perfect place to give him a new boost towards the end of his soccer career.
"I said I would like to play somewhere hot. I thought in Spain but never that Barcelona was going to come after me. I grew up watching Romario, Laudrup, Koeman … Signing up for this team was a dream that came true. We had a fantastic team. The workouts were incredible. Ronaldinho did things that he did not know could be made. Xavi was good but then it was better. Iniesta was a kid and Messi was too, ”recalled Larsson.
Those two seasons with the Catalan team were pure vertigo for the Swedish scorer. Beyond celebrating two league titles and a Spanish Super Cup, the best thing for Larsson was having been the protagonist of Barcelona's victory in the final of the Champions League 2006 against Arsenal in the capital of France.
“For me it was very special. I lost a great final in Seville with Celtic. It wasn't exactly a good experience but then I was able to win the Paris final, the biggest club competition you can win. I was so happy that I decided not to drink anything that night because I wanted to remember everything”Said the striker who scored 19 goals in the Blaugrana shirt.
Once he said goodbye to Catalonia, Larsson played a handful of matches in the Manchester United until he returned to Sweden to retire at the club where he made his professional player debut, Högaborgs BK, and then began his career as a coach in his native country.
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