Henrik Larsson on that Barcelona goal against Celtic

During his magnificent seven seasons in Glasgow at Celtic Park, Henrik Larsson became part of the rich tapestry of our club’s history and won a place in the hearts of Hoops fans worldwide. He scored countless goals for the green and white throughout his time here and put Rangers to the sword many times along the way.

When he left Celtic he joined FC Barcelona as a free agent and as fate would have it, we were drawn together in the Champions League group stage along with AC Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk back in the 2004-05 season. On the opening game night, the Bhoys hosted Henrik’s new side at home and welcomed an array of talent to the hallowed ground at Parkhead including, Ronaldinho and UEFA Cup Final foe, Deco.

Henrik Larsson of Barcelona holds off Joos Valgaeren of Celtic during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Celtic and Barcelona at Celtic Park on September 14, 2004. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The writing was on the wall that night and sure enough Larsson scored into the Celtic goal which broke the home support and the player. Speaking to German magazine 11 Freunde via Football Scotland, Henrik said:

“For seven years at Celtic Park they played the theme song of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ after every goal I scored. This time it was dead quiet, some spectators even whistled. I would have liked to have sunk into the ground.

“I owe everything to Celtic. The club paid for my house, made me financially independent and made me the person I am today.

“I loved the Celtic fans and yet that night I stabbed them in the heart with my goal. But at that moment I was a player for FC Barcelona.”

The former Manchester United and Feynoord player also revealed his toughest opponent in a Rangers jersey, and it turns out it’s one of Ange Postecoglou’s fellow Aussies, Craig Moore. Moore and Larsson had many memorable battles, yet it was the Swedish icon which would come out on top most times; with a goal ratio of 1 in 2 during his time at Paradise. He added: “It was Craig Moore of Rangers. He yelled at me for 90 minutes, kicked me across the pitch and tried everything to get inside my head.

“But you have to give him one thing, he never complained when he got something back himself. And I got him back really hard a few times! All my life people have told me I can’t do certain things because I’m small and skinny. No one believed in me because my father was just a sailor from Cape Verde and my mother was a factory worker. I always had to earn respect – in the school playground and on the pitch. I learned that if you don’t fight back, you become fair game.

 Henrik Larsson (r) celebrates with Stilian Petrov after scoring against Teplice in their third round first leg UEFA football match 26 February 2004  (Photo  IAN STEWART/AFP via Getty Images)

“I experienced things earlier in life I would have gladly done without – racism and insults, but that’s part of life. I wasn’t playing against a great anger, but for my dream.”

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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