Henrik Larsson – Easily the best player in Scottish football this century

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The King of Kings. Perhaps Celtic and Scottish football will never see a World class player like Henrik Larsson ever again…

01.07.1995 Copyright: imago/VI Images Henrik Larsson – Feyenoord 

Legend, world class, superstar, icon. That’s just a few of the words you can use to describe the one and only Henrik Larsson, our self proclaimed King of Kings.

Henrik is undoubtedly a Celtic legend and will be remembered in the same ilk as the likes of Willie Maley, Patsy Gallagher, Jimmy McGrory, Charlie Tully, Jock Stein and the Lisbon Lions, Kenny Dalglish, Danny McGrain and Paul McStay. He was that good and deserves to be immortalised just like these legendary figures.

Those of us lucky enough to watch Henrik in his pomp will be telling our grandkids the same kind of stories  told to us about the likes of the Lisbon Lions by our fathers and grandfathers. Henrik was that good, and sometimes you only appreciate how good he was when you rewatch the old clips. He was genuinely World class.

When Jim Craig asked Bertie Auld if Henrik Larsson would have been good enough to get into the Lisbon Lions side, Wee Bertie did not hesitate in saying, definitely. Jim Craig then asked where he’d play him, Bertie replies “at right back!”

Henrik was the last world class footballer to play for our club, and indeed the last one to play in Scottish football, no one even comes remotely close to matching Henrik Larsson. And it’s frustrating that we’re unlikely to see his likes again wearing the Hoops.

Stockholm – Henrik Larsson arriving at Arlanda airport with band aid on his nose Thursday November 6,1997 after an incident/fight/Glasgow Kiss with Tosh McKinlay during todays practise with his team Celtic in Glasgow.Photo Gunnar Seijbold

He had strength, he was skilful, he was deadly with both feet, for someone who wasn’t the biggest he was also one of the best headers of a ball I’ve ever seen. His two goals in Seville are testament to that. He was the complete centre forward, the perfect footballer, he was also a leader and a real team player and he found a home in football at Celtic and despite the offers from elsewhere he was happy to stay at Celtic for seven magical years. Compare and contrast with so many others who couldn’t wait to get a move, the most recent just last summer when Jota chased the money rather than the Glory and the Dream.

Barcelona, SPAIN: Barcelona’s (L to R) Henck Tencate, Gabri Garcia and Henrik Larsson celebrate winning the UEFA Champions League at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, 18 May 2006. FC Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League final football match Barcelona vs Arsenal, 17 May 2006 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, northern Paris. Barcelona won 2-1.  (Photo CESAR RANGEL/AFP via Getty Images)

No one can even use the ‘he only did it in Scotland’ excuse. Henrik gave Celtic his best years then  left to do it all again and Barcelona and finally at ManchesterUnited. He was outstanding  in European football at club level, and at international level he scored in European Championships and World Cups. He was idolised in the world game.

If he was playing today, in his prime Henrik would command a hefty price tag. That’s not in question.

 Manchester United’s Swedish forward Henrik Larsson celebrates scoring against Lille during their UEFA Champions League first knockout round, second leg football match at Old Trafford, Manchester, north-west England, 07 March 2007.  (Photo  ANDREW YATES/AFP via Getty Images)

Sadly we will never see his likes at Celtic or in Scottish football again for that matter. Legend is a word used loosely these days, but Henrik Larsson is and always will be a legend at Celtic football club and incidentally also at Barcelona. Thanks for all the Celtic memories, Henrik, the Celtic support will be talking about you in a hundred years from now, that is guaranteed.

Enjoy our King of Kings Photo Gallery of Henrik starring for Celtic, below…

Just an Ordinary Bhoy

9 May 1998: Henrik Larsson of Celtic celebrates after a Scottish Premier League match against St Johnstone at Celtic Park.. Celtic won the match 2-0 to become the league champions. Photo Shaun Botterill/Allsport
27 Aug 2000: Henrik Larsson of Celtic celebrates during the Scottish Premier League match against Rangers at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic won the game 6 – 2. Photo: Stu Forster /Allsport
27 Aug 2000: Chris Sutton and Henrik Larsson of Celtic during the Scottish Premier League match against Rangers at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic won the game 6 – 2. Photo: Stu Forster /Allsport


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About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.

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