Many notable football players have fought their way to fame and fortune through Celtic, but none are perhaps as memorable as Henrik “Henke” Larsson who has truly earned his spot in the Celtic hall of fame. The Swedish superstar from Helsingborg has played in several major clubs throughout his career, but it was with Celtic that Larsson broke through and became a celebrity. It wasn’t only thanks to his signature dreadlocks, his technical and athletic abilities were on another level too.
In fact, Zlatan owes part of his success to Henrik Larsson. They are both from the same area of Sweden and grew up under relatively similar circumstances. Larsson was a role model to Zlatan when he was young and it is rumored that Larsson taught Zlatan his signature style of dealing with interviews – they both speak very slowly, almost mumbling. You could almost call them boring, if not for their humor and wit that breaks through when you least expect it. Both Henrik Larsson and Zlatan have appeared in ads for online betting sites and in Swedish reality shows more times than we can count, Henrik Larsson is as popular as ever in his home country. But how did a kid from Helsingborg become this international superstar?
From zero to hero
It all began in the late 70’s as Henrik joined the local Hogaborg youth team which he stayed with until his debut with the seniors in 1989. From that point on, his career picked up speed at a lightning fast pace. Only two years later, he was playing for Helsingborg in the Swedish premier league, Allsvenskan. In 1994, Larsson had gained a reputation across Europe as the Dutch team Feyenoord signed him. He would only stay in the Netherlands for 3 years when he finally was picked up by Celtic.
Celtic is where Henrik Larsson reached true greatness. In 312 matches he scored no less than 242 goals and became a beloved hero to Celtic fans for many years. Even though his career was far from over when he left Celtic after 7 seasons, most people still think of Celtic when they see Henrik Larsson. While playing football in Scotland, Larsson was one of the biggest assets to the Swedish national team and played a key role when Sweden won the bronze medal in the 1994 World Cup against Romania, as he scored a goal and a penalty kick to secure the victory.
Larsson’s time with Celtic springboarded him to eventually sign with FC Barcelona, where he won the UEFA Champions League in the 2005/2006 season. Not only did he play in that match, he was responsible for two assists that secured the victory over Arsenal. To Barcelona fans, Henrik Larsson is perhaps as beloved as he is to Celtic fans, even decades after he left the club. But once a Celtic player, always a Celtic player!
Not even close to done
In 2020, Larsson became assistant manager for Barcelona and he has now cemented his legacy as both a legendary football player and a highly respected manager. He has stayed busy coaching Helsingborg back in Sweden ever since he quit his professional football career and today he is again signed with FC Barcelona, only this time as an assistant manager.
If there is one thing we know about Henrik Larsson from his time with Celtic, is that you should never underestimate him. It seems his career has taken a new turn yet again. Nothing points to Larsson leaving the football world anytime soon!