Henrik Larsson

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Henrik Larsson
Henrik Larsson in Jan 2014.jpg
Larsson at Svenska idrottsgalan in January 2014
Personal information
Full name Henrik Edward Larsson[1]
Date of birth (1971-09-20) 20 September 1971 (age 47)[1]
Place of birth Helsingborg, Sweden
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[1]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Helsingborg (Manager)
Youth career
1977–1988 Högaborg
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1992 Högaborg 64 (23)
1992–1993 Helsingborg 56 (50)
1993–1997 Feyenoord 101 (26)
1997–2004 Celtic 221 (174)
2004–2006 Barcelona 40 (13)
2006–2009 Helsingborg 84 (38)
2007Manchester United (loan) 7 (1)
2012 Råå 1 (0)
2013 Högaborg 2 (0)
Total 576 (325)
National team
1992–1993 Sweden U21 11 (5)
1997 Sweden B 1 (0)
1993–2009 Sweden 106 (37)
Teams managed
2010–2012 Landskrona BoIS
2013 Högaborg (assistant)
2014 Falkenberg
2015–2016 Helsingborg
2018–2019 Ängelholm (assistant)
2019– Helsingborg
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Henrik Edward Larsson (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈhɛnːrɪk ˈlɑːʂɔn]; born 20 September 1971) is a Swedish professional football manager, currently in charge of Helsingborgs IF, and former player, who played as a striker. Larsson began his career with Högaborg. In 1992, he moved to Helsingborg where in his first season his partnership up front with Mats Magnusson helped the club win promotion to Allsvenskan after 24 seasons in the lower tiers, he moved to Feyenoord in November 1993, staying for four years before leaving in 1997. During his time in the Dutch Eredivisie, he won two KNVB Cups with Feyenoord, he also broke into the Swedish national football team, and helped them finish in third place at the 1994 World Cup.

Wim Jansen signed Larsson for Scottish club Celtic in July 1997 for a fee of £650,000. In his first season at the club, he played a crucial role in stopping Rangers winning a 10th league title in a row. However, he suffered a broken leg in a UEFA Cup tie against Lyon in 1999. Despite this setback, Larsson came back stronger, netting 53 goals in a 2000–01 season that saw him claim the European Golden Shoe. Larsson went on to win four league titles in his seven years at Celtic, he also helped the team reach the 2003 UEFA Cup Final against Porto, scoring both goals in a 3–2 defeat in extra time. However, his 242 goals in 315 matches saw Celtic fans nickname him The King of Kings. Larsson then joined Barcelona in 2004, where he won two league titles and the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League with a pivotal two assists in the final. Following the expiration of his contract at Barcelona, Larsson returned to his hometown club Helsingborg, during which time he joined Manchester United on a brief loan between January and March 2007, he announced his retirement from football on 20 October 2009.[2]

Regarded as one of the greatest Swedish players of all time, Larsson played for Sweden in three FIFA World Cups and three UEFA European Championships, winning a bronze medal at the 1994 World Cup, and is a former captain of the national team, he ended his international career with 37 goals in 106 matches. He also won the Golden Ball (Guldbollen), the annual Award for best Swedish footballer twice, first in 1998 and again in 2004, while in 2003 he was named the Greatest Swedish Footballer of the Last 50 Years as part of the UEFA Jubilee Awards.

In 2010, Larsson began his career as a football manager at the Superettan club Landskrona BoIS during three seasons, he later managed Falkenberg in Allsvenskan, and eventually he took over at Helsingborg in 2015, where his son, Jordan was one of his players. However, Helsingborg were relegated to Superettan in 2016 and Larsson left the club.

Early life[edit]

Larsson was born in Helsingborg, Scania, his father, Francisco Rocha, is from Cape Verde,[3] and his mother, Eva Larsson, is Swedish.[4] His parents, who never married and split up when he was 12,[4] decided that he should take his mother's surname because they felt it would make it easier for their son to be accepted in Sweden,[5] he credits his father for his love of football.[4] His father gave him a football when he was 16 months old and as a child, he was able to practice with brothers and friends on a large field near his home in Helsingborg,[6] he has said of his school years, "I experienced some racism, because back then it was unusual to have a dark kid at school, I was one of the few."[7] He watched English football on television and his parents gave him a video of Pelé's life story, both of which inspired him.[7]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Larsson began playing at lower-league Högaborg at age six;[7] this smaller club was known to provide a good education for young players, and since Larsson left he has stressed how important this was not only for his football but also for his adult life in general.[8][9][10] He went on to start his professional career playing for their senior team at age 17 while still at school;[11] when he was 18, he had a trial at Benfica, at the time being managed by Larsson's country-mate Sven-Göran Eriksson.[12] On leaving school at 18, Larsson combined a semi-pro football career at Högaborg with work as a fruit packer.[11]

In four years playing at senior level with Högaborg, Larsson scored 23 goals in 74 matches. In 1992, second division side Helsingborg (the main club of his home city) signed Larsson.[11]


In his first year as a full-time professional, Larsson scored 34 goals for Helsingborg and his partnership up front with veteran striker Mats Magnusson helped the side win promotion to the top Swedish division, the Allsvenskan, the club's return to the top tier after 24 seasons in the lower divisions,[11] his star continued to rise the following year, as he netted 16 goals to help Helsingborg to a respectable mid-table finish.[11]


In November 1993, Dutch side Feyenoord signed Larsson for a fee of £295,000,[11] he made his league debut on 21 November 1993 as a substitute for Regi Blinker in a 1–1 home draw against Vitesse.[13] Larsson took time to adjust to working and living in a foreign country and could only muster a modest 6 goals in 27 appearances in his first season,[11] his goalscoring record improved in subsequent seasons, but he continued to be unsettled and frustrated by a combination of ever-changing coaches, being played in unfamiliar positions and latterly the club's player-rotation policy which saw him being substituted fifty or sixty minutes into a match even when playing well.[11][14]

Larsson won his first major winner's medal on 12 May 1994 when he played in the Feyenoord side that defeated NEC 2–1 in the final of the KNVB Cup;[15] the following season, Larsson won his second winner's medal in the same tournament when Feyenoord won 2–1 against Volendam.[16]

In 1997, Larsson told manager Arie Haan that he wished to leave the club.[11] A bitter legal wrangle then ensued over a clause in his contract that Larsson claimed would allow him to be sold on if a fee of £600,000 was offered.[14][17] Larsson won his case and in July 1997, he signed for Scottish side Celtic.[18]



Following the contract dispute with Feyenoord, Larsson was signed by Celtic manager Wim Jansen in July 1997 for a fee of £650,000.[18] In his first season at Celtic, he played the role of supporting forward alongside Darren Jackson, Simon Donnelly and later Harald Brattbakk.

In Larsson's Celtic debut, against Hibernian at Easter Road, he came on as a late substitute, he inadvertently passed the ball to Hibernian player Chic Charnley, who then went on to score, resulting in a 2–1 defeat for Celtic.[19] He scored an own goal in his first European game,[20] although Celtic did go on to win 6–3 against Austrian side Tirol Innsbruck.[21] After his poor start to the season, he went on to score 18 goals in all competitions,[22] and was Celtic's top scorer for the season. In November 1997, Larsson won his first medal for the club with a 3–0 win over Dundee United at Ibrox Stadium to give Celtic the Scottish League Cup. Larsson scored Celtic's second goal in the match.[23] On the final day of the league season, he scored the opener with a powerful shot from 20 yards out in a 2–0 win against St Johnstone to clinch the championship for Celtic,[23] 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.[24]

Larsson's second season with the club saw a change in management with Jozef Vengloš taking the Parkhead hotseat following Wim Jansen's resignation;[25] the season marked the player's coming of age as a goal-scorer. Playing in a more advanced striker's role, Larsson scored 38 goals to end the season as both Celtic and Scotland's top goalscorer;[22][26] the 1998–99 season proved ultimately disappointing for Celtic finishing runners-up to rivals Rangers in both the newly established Scottish Premier League (SPL),[27] and in the Scottish Cup.[28] During the season, Larsson also made the scoresheet for the first time in an Old Firm match, scoring a brace in a 5–1 victory in November,[29][30] and scoring the equaliser in the 2–2 New Year's Day match at Ibrox.[31] Throughout the season, Larsson forged a mutually prolific partnership with diminutive Slovak playmaker Ľubomír Moravčík,[32] he was also awarded the honours of SPFA Players' Player of the Year, SFWA Footballer of the Year,[33] and Swedish Footballer of the Year.[34]

The 1999–2000 season saw another change in management for Celtic. Former Liverpool and England international winger John Barnes replaced Vengloš to become manager at the club;[35] the season started very brightly for Larsson as he notched up eight league goals in just nine games for the club.[35] During Celtic's 1–0 defeat in a UEFA Cup tie against Lyon on 22 October 1999, Larsson suffered a career-threatening injury, breaking his leg in two places in a challenge with Serge Blanc;[36] this resulted in him spending eight months on the sidelines,[37] only returning on the last day of the 1999–2000 season. John Barnes cited Larsson's injury as being a significant factor in his sacking by Celtic after only months in the position,[38] it was initially feared that Larsson had suffered a compound leg fracture, an injury which would normally result in an even longer absence – or possibly even end his professional career – but X-rays soon revealed that the injury was not as serious as originally feared.[39] By the time Larsson had completed his rehabilitation, John Barnes had been sacked and replaced by director of football Kenny Dalglish as interim manager.[40] Larsson made his comeback with a substitute appearance against Dundee United at Celtic Park on the final day of the SPL season.[41]


Following the arrival of Martin O'Neill in the summer of 2000,[42] Larsson had his most successful season for Celtic, he forged a prolific partnership with new arrival Chris Sutton,[43] as he scored 35 league goals in 38 league games to become SPL top goalscorer and to win the European Golden Shoe.[44] The season saw Celtic win the domestic treble of the Scottish League Cup, Scottish Cup and the SPL.[45] Larsson scored a hat-trick in a 3–0 win over Kilmarnock at Hampden Park to win the Scottish League Cup,[46] the first non-Scot to do so in a Cup Final in Scotland,[47] he also scored a brace in the Scottish Cup in a 3–0 win over Hibernian.[45] Other highlights for Larsson included a double against Rangers in the 6–2 win at Parkhead early in the season,[48][49] and scoring his 50th goal of the season against Rangers at Ibrox in a 3–0 victory towards the end of the season[50] and finishing the season with a total of 53 goals in all competitions,[22] he was again voted SPFA Players' Player of the Year, as well as SFWA Footballer of the Year.[51] Rangers manager Dick Advocaat said: "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 work rate."[52]

Larsson's fifth season at the club yielded a second consecutive SPL title for the club,[53] 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,[54] he scored again for Celtic in their Champions League campaign with the solitary goal in a 1–0 victory over Porto,[55] and again from the penalty spot against Juventus in a thrilling 4–3 victory at Celtic Park.[56] 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 second leg goal to take the tie into penalties, which Celtic eventually lost.[57] Larsson once again ended the season as SPL top goalscorer with 29 goals from 33 league appearances.[58][59]

The 2002–03 season saw the club reach the 2003 UEFA Cup final.[60] After losing out on a place in the Champions League following an away goals defeat to Basel,[61] Celtic dropped into the UEFA Cup. In the first round, Celtic were paired with Lithuanian side Sūduva, with Larsson scoring a hat-trick in the 8–1 first leg victory,[62] as they progressed 10–1 on aggregate after adding a 2–0 away win;[63] the second round saw former Rangers player-manager Graeme Souness' Blackburn Rovers side visit Celtic Park in a matched dubbed "The Battle of Britain".[64] Celtic came went into the second leg at Ewood Park 1–0 up courtesy of a late Larsson goal.[65] After comments from the Blackburn players in the media, who felt their team deserved to win, claiming that the tie was "like men against boys",[66] Larsson scored the opening goal in a 2–0 away win;[67] the following rounds saw Celtic see off Celta Vigo 2–2 on away goals,[68] and VfB Stuttgart 5–4 on aggregate.[69] Larsson missed both ties with Stuttgart, following a broken jaw, after a collision with Gustave Bahoken in an SPL match against Livingston,[70] but he returned from injury in time for Celtic's "Battle of Britain II" quarter-final clash with 2001 winners Liverpool.[71] Celtic defeated Liverpool 3–1 on aggregate,[72] with Larsson scoring the opener in a 1–1 draw at Celtic Park.[73] Celtic followed that up with a 2–0 victory at Anfield to clinch the tie.[72]

Celtic met Portuguese side Boavista in the semi-final.[74] Boavista took the advantage on away goals after a 1–1 draw in the first leg, in which Larsson scored the equaliser after missing a penalty.[75] In the second leg, Larsson struck for Celtic after a one-two with John Hartson with only ten minutes remaining; the goal sent Celtic through to their first European final since 1970.[76] The final in Seville against Porto saw Larsson equalise twice for Celtic with two headers, although the Scottish club eventually lost 3–2 after extra time.[60] Larsson also finished runner-up to Porto's Derlei in the competition's goalscoring charts. Larsson described the pain of the defeat as being the worst moment of his career, including his leg break, which he suffered against Lyon, when challenging for the ball against Serge Blanc in 1999.[77] More disappointment followed, as Celtic finished up runners-up to Rangers on the last day of the SPL season, by only a single goal on goal difference.[78] 2003 also saw Larsson voted as the Greatest Swedish Footballer of the Last 50 Years as part of the UEFA Jubilee Awards.[79] He also finished the season again the top SPL goalscorer with 28 goals from 35 games.[58][59]


Henrik Larsson before kick-off at the John Kennedy testimonial match

Larsson's seventh and final season for Celtic saw the club win the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Cup titles.[80]

After parachuting from the Champions League, Celtic reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals, eliminating Barcelona en route,[81] before losing 3–1 on aggregate to Villarreal.[82] Larsson scored his only Champions League goal of the season against Anderlecht in a 3–1 win at Celtic Park,[83] he added to his European goal tally with a double in a 3–0 UEFA Cup third round victory over Teplice,[84] and the equaliser in a first leg quarter-final tie at Celtic Park against Villarreal, after earlier having a goal disallowed for handball; the match ended 1–1.[85] It was Larsson's final European goal for Celtic.[86]

Celtic defeated Rangers in all five Old Firm fixtures that season.[87] Larsson's final Old Firm goal came in a 1–0 Scottish Cup win at Parkhead,[88] his final competitive game at home for Celtic came in a league match against Dundee United on 16 May 2004, and he scored both goals as Celtic won 2–1.[89] In his last competitive appearance for Celtic, he scored two goals to defeat Dunfermline Athletic on 22 May 2004 at Hampden and win the 2004 Scottish Cup final.[80]

Larsson was also voted Swedish Footballer of the Year for the second time for his performances throughout the 2003–04 season.[34]


In his seven years at Celtic, Larsson won four SPL titles, two Scottish League Cups and two Scottish Cups, 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 a severe leg break suffered in Lyon. Larsson was also a consistent goalscorer in international competition, he scored two goals in the 2003 UEFA Cup final, although 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.[90]

Larsson played a testimonial match on 25 May 2004 against Sevilla in front of a capacity crowd at Celtic Park.[91] In all, he scored 242 goals for Celtic in 315 matches, and his performances saw fans nickname him The King of Kings. [92]


Since leaving Celtic Park in June 2004, Larsson has returned to play for Celtic in testimonial matches three times; the first was in May 2005, for Jackie McNamara's testimonial against the Republic of Ireland,[93] which Celtic lost 1–0, Robbie Keane scoring the only goal.[94] His second guest appearance was in May 2008, when 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 teammate Phil O'Donnell, who had died in December 2007 while playing in a match for Motherwell. Larsson, who scored an overhead kick in the 5–1 victory for Celtic, left Sweden's national training camp early to take part in the match;[95] the third was on 9 August 2011, when Larsson played for the Celtic Legends against the Manchester United Legends for John Kennedy's testimonial. He scored a hat-trick and made a further assist for Bobby Petta as the Celtic side came back from 2–0 down to win 5–2.[96]


Larsson warming up for Barça

At the end of the 2003–04 season, Larsson left Celtic on a free transfer and signed a one-year contract with Barcelona with an option for a second year.[97] Larsson's contribution in Barça's La Liga win in his first season there was disrupted by serious injury, he scored 3 goals in 12 Liga games and one goal (against his former club Celtic)[98] in four Champions League matches. After the match against Celtic, he said: "It was very difficult for me to celebrate my goal because I had so many great times here."[99] On 20 November 2004, during the 3–0 victory in El Clásico against Real Madrid, Larsson tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus in his left knee.[100] Despite his injury-hit 2004–05 season, playing only 16 games, Barcelona took the option to extend his contract.[101]

Larsson playing for Barcelona against Deportivo

In December 2005, Larsson announced that at the end of his contract, which ended in July, he would leave Barcelona and return to Sweden to end his career, he revealed that he had refused an offer by club president Joan Laporta to extend his contract to the end of the next season.[102] On the announcement of his departure, Ronaldinho said:[103]

In Larsson's final match for Barcelona, his substitute introduction was pivotal to win the 2006 Champions League final. Larsson assisted both of Barcelona's goals in a 2–1 win over Arsenal. Thierry Henry paid tribute to Larsson's contribution to Barcelona's win after the match, saying, "People always talk about Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o, Ludovic Giuly and everything, but I didn't see them today, I saw Henrik Larsson, he came on, he changed the game, that is what killed the game. Sometimes you talk about Ronaldinho and Eto'o and people like that; you need to talk about the proper footballer who made the difference, and that was Henrik Larsson tonight."[104] Indeed, his ability to give Barcelona the cutting edge required to overcome Arsenal was noted by the international press.[105][106] In 2005–06, Larsson scored ten goals as Barcelona won La Liga for a second consecutive year.

Helsingborg (second spell)[edit]

After Sweden's elimination from the 2006 FIFA World Cup on 24 June 2006, Larsson joined up with his former club, Helsingborg,[107] he made his second debut for his home town club against Hammarby in the Swedish Cup on 6 July 2006. Helsingborg went on to win the competition, defeating Gefle 2–0 in the final on 11 November 2006, earning Larsson another medal.[108] Larsson's eight league goals in 15 appearances[109] also helped his team to a fourth-place finish in the Allsvenskan;[110] this successful season earned Helsingborg a slot in the following season's UEFA Cup.

Loan to Manchester United[edit]

Shortly after rejoining Helsingborg, Larsson was signed on loan by Manchester United from 1 January until 12 March 2007, coinciding with the Allsvenskan's off-season,[111] he scored on his debut against Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round on 7 January 2007 at Old Trafford.[112] Larsson scored his first ever FA Premier League goal on 31 January in a 4–0 win over Watford.[113]

While United were eager to extend the loan deal, Larsson stated that he had made a promise to his family and his club to return on 12 March; this was confirmed on 20 February, when Larsson announced that he would not be extending his loan period.[114] Despite this, Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for the striker, who scored 3 goals in 13 matches in all competitions during his three-month stay,[115] saying, "He's been fantastic for us, his professionalism, his attitude, everything he's done has been excellent."[116] "We would love him to stay but, obviously, he has made his promise to his family and Helsingborg and I think we should respect that – but I would have done anything to keep him."[115] Larsson scored Manchester United's only goal in their win against Lille at Old Trafford in the Champions League,[117] he made his final appearance for United on 10 March in an FA Cup sixth round tie away to Middlesbrough, ending in a 2–2 draw.[118]

Manchester United won the Premier League two months after Larsson had left the club, and although he had not played the required quota of ten league games to qualify for a Premier League winners medal, he,[119] alongside Alan Smith, was granted special dispensation by the Premier League after the club requested extra medals for the two.[120][121]

Larsson's last appearance at Old Trafford in fact came against United, the day after his loan with the club expired, as captain for a Europe XI team in the UEFA Celebration Match.[122][123] Larsson received a standing ovation from the home fans upon being substituted for Liverpool player Robbie Fowler.[124]

Return to Helsingborg[edit]

After leaving Manchester United in March 2007, Larsson resumed his career with Helsingborg. Larsson helped the club through the preliminary stages of the UEFA Cup, where Larsson scored twice against Estonian side Narva Trans and once against League of Ireland side Drogheda United;[125] the first round proper of the UEFA Cup that season saw a high-scoring tie between Helsingborg and Heerenveen, Larsson's side lost 5–3 in the Netherlands on 20 September 2007, with Larsson scoring twice. The return leg in Sweden on 4 October 2007 saw Helsingborg win 5–1, Larsson again scoring, to win the tie 8–6 on aggregate and qualify for the group stage.[126] Helsingborg progressed from the group stage, with Larsson scoring against Panionios, Austria Wien and Bordeaux, and they qualified for the round of 32, where they lost 1–4 on aggregate to PSV in February 2008.[126] Helsingborg could not match their league performances of the previous year, and finished in eight place in Allsvenskan in 2007.[127] Helsingborg also failed to retain the Swedish Cup, losing 1–2 to BoIS in the fourth round in June 2007.[128]

The 2008 Allsvenskan saw Larsson produce his best league goal-scoring tally since returning to Sweden, with his 14 goals[129] helping Helsingborg to fourth place[130] and qualification in 2009–10 for the rebranded UEFA Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup.

In July 2009, Larsson scored three goals in the Europa League qualifying ties against Eastern European minnows Mika and Zestaponi,[131] he broke his knee-cap during the first leg of the next qualifying round against Sarajevo on 30 July 2009,[131] and was out for an estimated eight weeks. Some reports at the time suggested that this in fact was the end of his playing career, with this injury also coming on top of the recent death of his younger brother, Robert. However, he returned to the first team on 16 September 2009, appearing as a substitute in a 1–3 defeat against IFK Göteborg in the Swedish Cup,[132] and then on 24 September 2009 in his first start since returning from injury, he scored two goals (including the winner) against league rivals AIK.[132]

On 20 October 2009, Larsson announced his retirement from playing at the end of the 2009 Allsvenskan;[2] the announcement followed a previous statement from the player declaring his intention to retire from international duty. Larsson had also stated his desire to move into coaching and expressed his intent to study for coaching badges in Scotland under the Scottish Football Association system;[133] the announcement quickly sparked rumours of a return to Celtic as manager, even going so far as to suggest a link-up with former Celtic teammate Ľubomír Moravčík as his assistant.[134] Larsson also discussed the possibility of taking up floorball on a full-time basis.[135]

Larsson took to the pitch for the final time in Helsingborg's 2–0 Allsvenskan loss to Djurgården on 28 October 2009, and was given a standing ovation from the crowd.[136][137][138]

Playing activity after his professional retirement[edit]

Larsson participated in the Soccer Aid football match at Old Trafford on 6 June 2010 for the Rest of the World team in aid of UNICEF.[139] Larsson made a promise that at the end of his football career, he would play one season at his first club, Högaborg; when he retired at the end of the 2009 season, that promise was not fulfilled. In August 2010, however, Larsson played with Högaborg's veterans team and scored 16 goals in 5 matches.[140]

In August 2012, Larsson came out of retirement for a brief spell at Swedish fifth division (Division 3) side Råå,[141] he made one appearance, coming on as a substitute in a league match on 22 September 2012, a 1–1 draw against Höganäs.[142] Larsson then registered as a player with Högaborg's senior-recreational side and played games with them. Due to the many injuries, Larsson was included in the first-team squad that beat Tenhult with 4–2 on 19 June 2013, he came off the bench in the 85th minute, and played alongside his son, Jordan.[143][144][145] At age 42, Larsson took part in a further league match for Högaborg on 26 October 2013, when he played the first 66 minutes in a 2–0 win over IF Haga.[146][147] At age 44, Larsson took part in a 7–1 friendly win for Helsingborg over IFK Malmö, in which he scored in the 89th minute of play.[148]

International career[edit]

Larsson scored 37 goals in 106 matches for the Sweden national team, he scored his first international goal in his debut on 13 October 1993, during the World Cup qualifications stage, in a 3–2 win against Finland.[11][149]

Sweden manager Tommy Svensson selected Larsson for his 22-man squad for the 1994 World Cup squad,[11] alongside established forwards such as Tomas Brolin, Kennet Andersson and Martin Dahlin. Larsson began Sweden's first game of the tournament, against Cameroon, on the bench, but came on as a substitute with Sweden trailing 1–2. Larsson struck a fierce, long-range shot against the crossbar, with Dahlin reacting quickly to score the rebound to give their country a 2–2 draw,[11] he then played from the start in the next game, against Brazil, but returned to the substitutes' bench for the matches against Russia and Saudi Arabia.[11] He then came on a substitute in the quarter-final tie against Romania; the match finished 2–2 after extra time, with Sweden winning on penalties, one of which was scored by Larsson.[11] Larsson did not feature in Sweden's 0–1 defeat against Brazil in the semi-final, but did play in the third-place play-off against Bulgaria which Sweden won 4–0, including Larsson's first World Cup goal, latching onto a through-ball from Brolin before rounding Bulgarian goalkeeper Borislav Mikhailov and wrong-footing defender Trifon Ivanov;[11] that win secured third-place at the 1994 World Cup for Sweden, their best showing in a tournament since finishing runner-up to Brazil in 1958.[150]

Larsson became a regular in the side after that, playing in six of his country's qualifiers for UEFA Euro 1996. However, he did not score in any of these matches and Sweden failed to qualify for the finals.

Sweden also failed to qualify to the 1998 World Cup, but succeeded in qualifying for Euro 2000, with Larsson scoring three goals during the qualifying matches. Larsson was selected for the Sweden squad despite having only just recovered from a broken leg sustained playing for Celtic.[151][152] Euro 2000 was not a great success for Sweden, who went out at the first group stage, but Larsson scored against Italy in a 1–2 defeat.[153]

Sweden reappeared on the global stage two years later at the 2002 World Cup. Larsson helped guide Sweden out of the group of death and into the knockout round with a 2–1 win over Nigeria in which he scored both goals,[154] he then scored in the round of 16 match against Senegal, though Sweden ended up losing 1–2 in extra time to a golden goal and were eliminated.[155]

Larsson in Euro 2004

Larsson originally chose to retire from international football after that World Cup, his decision was met with dismay in Sweden and there was much clamoring for him to return to the team for their campaign at Euro 2004 in Portugal.[156] Despite initially maintaining his decision to retire, he eventually agreed to return to the national side for Euro 2004.[157] Playing up front alongside Zlatan Ibrahimović, Larsson scored three goals in four matches and lead Sweden to the quarter-finals, where they were defeated in a penalty shoot-out by the Netherlands. Larsson's diving header against Bulgaria was voted best goal of the tournament.[158]

Larsson also featured at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, he scored in the final minute of the match against England for Sweden to draw the match 2–2 in their final match in the group stages.[159] The goal sealed Sweden's qualification for the second round of the tournament. In Sweden's last 16 game against hosts Germany, Larsson missed a penalty and Sweden went out with the score at 2–0 to Germany.[160]

He retired from international football for the second time on 17 July 2006.[161] "It is time to quit now. It feels right. I'm done with the national team", the 34-year-old Larsson told TV station Canal Plus. Sweden boss Lars Lagerbäck, however, managed to lure Larsson out of international retirement once more and on 13 May 2008, the Swedish Football Association officially declared that Larsson had agreed to make a comeback and play for Sweden once again at Euro 2008.[162]

Following former team captain Fredrik Ljungberg's decision to quit the national side after the tournament, Larsson was chosen to become the new captain in a friendly match against France on 20 August 2008,[163] He scored his 37th goal for Sweden in that match, although France ended up winning 3–2,[164] he played his 100th game for Sweden on 6 September 2008, in a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Albania, which ended in a 0–0 draw.[165]

On 11 October 2009, Larsson once again decided to retire from the national team.[166]

Managerial career[edit]

Larsson made clear his intentions to take up coaching once his playing career came to an end, having also expressed an interest in returning to Celtic in a coaching capacity.[167]

Landskrona BoIS[edit]

On 14 December 2009 Larsson was appointed manager at Landskrona BoIS, a Swedish second division football club, on a one-year contract.[168]

However, the news that Larsson would take over Landskrona was received with mixed feelings, as his former club Helsingborg traditionally were their main rivals.[169]

The 2010 Superettan, the first season for Larsson as a manager, started off positively for Landskrona. With an aggressively attacking 4–3–3 formation Larsson's club lined up victories and fought for the premier seats and promotion to Allsvenskan, until the very end of the season, they ended, however, in fifth place. The Landskrona BoIS board was satisfied with the results, and therefore both Larsson and his assistant manager Hans Eklund renewed their contracts for another year.[170]

On 23 March 2011, Landskrona BoIS announced the recruitment of the Swedish national team qualified midfielder Marcus Lantz from Helsingborg, a solicitation that was largely thanks to Larsson.[171] With the recruitment of Lantz, Henrik Larsson announced a major effort to make the club win Superettan and be promoted to Allsvenskan, from which they were relegated in 2005.[172]

Before the 2011 Superettan season, the managers of the other Superettan clubs had tipped Landskrona as the likely champion,[173] but the season was about to become the club's worst in years. Instead of being in the top of the table, Landskrona was stuck at the bottom more than halfway into the season, with relegation looming; some fans protested against both the board and Henrik Larsson, sarcastically suggesting that the club had used an impostor instead of the real Larsson.[174] The crisis went so deep within the association that the board wanted Larsson himself to make a comeback as a player. Larsson played for 20 minutes with Landskrona's reserve team in a match against Mjällby AIF, but felt physically unprepared for playing in Superettan, even if the sporting director of Landskrona, Mats Aronsson, believed the opposite.[175] However, Landskrona and Henrik Larsson avoided relegation and finished tenth largely because of the summer signing of goalkeeper Ivo Vazgec who achieved the best save percentage in the league.[176]

On 21 November 2011, Larsson signed a new one-year contract, making him manager for Landskrona during the 2012 Superettan as well.[177] Landskrona performed better in 2012, but only managed to finish in sixth place instead of achieving the third-place finish which would have meant qualification for a promotion play-off spot.[178] In November 2012, Larsson confirmed he had left his position and would consider any available posts elsewhere.[179][180]


Larsson as manager of Falkenberg in 2014

On 4 December 2013, Larsson was appointed manager of Falkenberg, signing a one-year rolling contact with the newly promoted club.[181] After securing Falkenberg's position in Allsvenskan, it was announced on 10 November 2014 that he would not manage the club for the 2015 season.[182]


After leaving Falkenberg, Larsson was appointed manager of Helsingborg.[183] In November 2016, Helsingborg were relegated to Superettan after losing a two-legged play-off against Halmstad. After the final whistle, a minor group of disappointed home fans attacked both Larsson and his son, Jordan.[184] Following the end of the season, Larsson decided to leave the club.[185]

On 16 June 2019, Helsingborg announced that Larsson had returned to the club as their new manager.[186]

Floorball career[edit]

Larsson also played floorball at a competitive level in 1989. On 23 November 2008, he resumed his floorball career when he played his first Swedish Super League game for Helsingborg. In his second game for the club, he made two assists, and was voted man of the match.[187][188]

Style of play[edit]

A well-rounded striker, Larsson was known for his speed, goalscoring ability, composure, and intelligence on the pitch, as exemplified by his excellent offensive movement and positional sense, which enabled him to lose his markers, find spaces in the defence, and make attacking runs into the penalty area. Although he was not particularly tall for a striker, he possessed significant physical strength and excelled in the air; an elegant player on the ball, he was also gifted with excellent technical skills, and was capable of providing assists to teammates in addition to scoring goals himself, courtesy of his passing, creativity, and awareness. Although naturally right footed, he was a powerful and accurate finisher with either foot from both inside and outside the penalty area, as well as his head; furthermore, he was an accurate free-kick and penalty taker. In addition to his talent and abilities as a footballer, he also stood out for his discipline, professionalism, and work-rate throughout his career.[189][190][191][192][193][194][195][196][197][198]

Personal life[edit]

On 21 June 1996, Larsson married Magdalena Spjuth,[4] whom he had met in a restaurant at the age of 19,[7] she is the daughter of a politician and an education director at the local municipality.[4] They have one son, professional footballer Jordan Larsson (born 1997 and named after basketball player Michael Jordan),[7] and one daughter, Janelle Larsson[4][199] (born 2002), a member of the junior Swedish national show jumping team.

On 6 June 2009, before Sweden's 1–0 loss against Denmark, Larsson's younger brother Robert, who had a troubled personal life, was found dead in his flat in their hometown of Helsingborg.[200] Henrik was not told until after the match had concluded.[201] Henrik Larsson also has an elder half-brother, Kim.[4]

Career statistics[edit]


Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Högaborg 1989 21 1 21 1
1990 21 7 21 7
1991 22 15 22 15
Total 64 23 64 23
Helsingborg 1992 31 34 31 34
1993 25 16 5 1 30 17
Total 56 50 5 1 61 51
Feyenoord 1993–94 15 1 12 5 27 6
1994–95 23 8 9 1 6 7 38 16
1995–96 32 10 4 1 7 1 43 12
1996–97 31 7 4 0 6 1 41 8
Total 101 26 29 7 19 9 149 42
Celtic 1997–98 35 16 4 0 5 3 2 0 46 19
1998–99 35 29 5 5 0 0 8 4 48 38
1999–2000 9 7 0 0 0 0 4 5 13 12
2000–01 37 35 6 9 2 5 5 4 50 53
2001–02 33 29 3 2 1 0 10 4 47 35
2002–03 35 28 2 2 2 2 12 12 51 44
2003–04 37 30 5 5 1 0 15 6 58 41
Total 221 174 25 23 11 10 56 35 313 242
Barcelona 2004–05 12 3 1 0 4 1 17 4
2005–06 28 10 4 4 10 1 42 15
Total 40 13 4 4 14 2 59 19
Helsingborg 2006 15 8 5 4 20 12
2007 22 9 1 0 9 9 32 18
2008 27 14 1 0 2 0 30 14
2009 20 7 1 0 4 3 25 10
Total 84 38 8 4 15 12 107 54
Manchester United (loan) 2006–07 7 1 4 1 0 0 2 1 13 3
Råå 2012 1 0 1 0
Högaborg 2013 2 0 2 0
Career total 576 325 76 40 11 10 106 59 769 434


Sweden national team[203]
Year Apps Goals
1993 2 1
1994 14 5
1995 6 0
1996 6 1
1997 2 0
1998 7 1
1999 9 2
2000 8 2
2001 10 9
2002 8 3
2003 1 0
2004 9 8
2005 5 2
2006 6 2
2007 0 0
2008 9 1
2009 4 0
Total 106 37

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Sweden's goal tally first.[202][203]
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 13 October 1993 Råsunda, Stockholm  Finland 2–1 3–2 1994 World Cup qualifier
2 20 February 1994 Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami  United States 1–1 3–1 Joe Robbie Cup
3 20 April 1994 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham  Wales 1–0 2–0 Friendly
4 5 May 1994 Råsunda Stadium, Stockholm  Nigeria 2–0 3–1 Friendly
5 16 July 1994 Rose Bowl, Pasadena  Bulgaria 3–0 4–0 1994 World Cup
6 17 August 1994 Råsunda, Stockholm  Lithuania 4–2 4–2 Friendly
7 1 June 1996 Råsunda, Stockholm  Belarus 5–1 5–1 1998 World Cup qualifier
8 14 October 1998 Neftochimik Stadium, Burgas  Bulgaria 1–0 1–0 Euro 2000 qualifier
9 27 March 1999 Ullevi, Gothenburg  Luxembourg 2–0 2–0 Euro 2000 qualifier
10 9 October 1999 Råsunda, Stockholm  Poland 2–0 2–0 Euro 2000 qualifier
11 19 June 2000 Philips Stadion, Eindhoven  Italy 1–1 1–2 Euro 2000
12 7 October 2000 Ullevi, Gothenburg  Turkey 1–0 1–1 2002 World Cup qualifier
13 28 February 2001 Ta' Qali National Stadium, Ta'Qali  Malta 2–0 3–0 Friendly
14 6 June 2001 Ullevi, Gothenburg  Moldova 1–0 6–0 2002 World Cup qualifier
15 2–0
16 3–0
17 6–0
18 15 August 2001 Råsunda, Stockholm  South Africa 1–0 3–0 Friendly
19 1 September 2001 City Stadium, Skopje  Macedonia 1–0 2–1 2002 World Cup qualifier
20 5 September 2001 Ali Sami Yen Stadium, Istanbul  Turkey 1–1 2–1 2002 World Cup qualifier
21 7 October 2001 Råsunda, Stockholm  Azerbaijan 2–0 3–0 2002 World Cup qualifier
22 7 June 2002 Kobe Wing Stadium, Kobe  Nigeria 1–1 2–1 2002 World Cup
23 2–1
24 16 June 2002 Ōita Stadium, Ōita  Senegal 1–1 1–2 2002 World Cup
25 5 June 2004 Råsunda, Stockholm  Poland 1–0 3–1 Friendly
26 14 June 2004 Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon  Bulgaria 2–0 5–0 Euro 2004
27 3–0
28 22 June 2004 Estádio do Bessa Século XXI, Porto  Denmark 1–1 2–2 Euro 2004
29 4 September 2004 Ta'Qali National Stadium, Ta'Qali  Malta 7–0 7–0 2006 World Cup qualifier
30 9 October 2004 Råsunda, Stockholm  Hungary 2–0 3–0 2006 World Cup qualifier
31 13 October 2004 Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavík  Iceland 1–0 4–1 2006 World Cup qualifier
32 3–0
33 17 August 2005 Ullevi, Gothenburg  Czech Republic 1–0 2–1 Friendly
34 12 September 2005 Råsunda, Stockholm  Iceland 2–1 3–1 2006 World Cup qualifier
35 2 June 2006 Råsunda, Stockholm  Chile 1–0 1–1 Friendly
36 20 June 2006 RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne  England 2–2 2–2 2006 World Cup
37 20 August 2008 Ullevi, Gothenburg  France 1–0 2–3 Friendly

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 20 November 2016
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
G W D L Win % Ref
Landskrona BoIS 14 December 2009 8 November 2012 94 38 19 37 040.43 [204]
Falkenberg 4 December 2013 10 November 2014 31 9 6 16 029.03 [207]
Helsingborg 1 January 2015 23 November 2016 68 22 12 34 032.35 [208]
Total 193 69 37 87 035.75






Manchester United



Orders and special awards

See also[edit]


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