Henrik Larsson - a.k.a King of KingsHenrik Larsson is one of Sweden's most well-known and successful forwards of all time, and in modern times second after Zlatan Ibrahimovic (according to most people). After starting his career in the Swedish Division One with the team Högaborg, he went on to play for Helsingborg and Feyenoord and then became perhaps the most popular player ever in Celtic, the club where he was nicknamed "King of Kings".
At the beginning of the careerAlready as an 18-year-old Henrik Larsson established himself in Högaborg in the then Swedish division one and went to Helsingborg in the highest league in Sweden as a 20-year-old. In Helsingborg he quickly made success and scored 48 goals in two seasons before Feyenoord bought him in 1994. However, Feyenoord was never a real success but when he signed for the Scottish major club Celtic it was a completely different story.
The Magical Years in CelticHenrik Larsson was no big star when he signed for the Scottish club Celtic from Glasgow in 1997 but seven seasons later he had established himself as one of the club's biggest stars of all time, perhaps even the very biggest and most popular ever. This assessment of it is obviously subjective but in some lists of Celtic's biggest stars ever he still is number one to this day, ahead of legends like Kenny Dalglish. The nickname "King of Kings" among inveterate Celtic supporters says the most.
After a somewhat slow start in Celtic he still had a good first season with a total of 18 goals and became Celtic's best scorer that season in the end. He then became Celtic's top scorer every season except the 99/00 season when he was injured a long time during the season. In total, Henrik Larsson scored a total of 242 goals in 315 matches for Celtic. In addition, the 00/01 season he won the "European Golden Shoe", becoming Europe's best scorer when he scored 35 goals in the league.
During his time in Celtic he won the league 4 times and also the Scottish Cup twice and the Scottish League Cup twice. He also took Celtic to a UEFA cup final 02/03 where he scored two goals in the final but Celtic in the end was defeated by Porto by 3-2.
His time in BarcelonaThat no big European club bought Henrik Larsson during his most successful years in Celtic felt a bit like a mystery, but he eventually got to play for one of the biggest clubs when he left Celtic for Barcelona in 2004. In Barcelona he never became the great scorer as in Celtic but rather more a complementary player to Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry. However, in his last match for Barcelona he would still leave a big impression in Barcelona's history.
In the 2006 Champions League final, Barcelona played against Arsenal. Larsson started the match on the bench but entered the field as a substitute in the second half when Arsenal had a 1-0 lead. With two assists from Henrik Larsson, Barcelona turned the defeat into a 2-1 victory and was hailed by many as the big match winner which lead to Barcelona's Champions League victory.
End of the careerAfter his time in Barcelona, Henrik Larsson returned to Helsingborg and the Swedish top league Allsvenskan and won the Swedish Cup with Helsingborg in 2006. After a short time in Helsingborg he signed a loan contract with Manchester United. Once in Manchester, Henrik only played seven games (scoring 1 goal) and although Manchester United wanted to extend his loan contract, he returned to Helsingborg again in March 2007. After two more seasons in Helsingborg he ended his elite career in October 2009.
Henrik Larsson in the national teamIn addition to a fantastic career at club level, Henrik Larsson also had a long national team career for Sweden. He played a total of 106 international matches and scored 37 goals in these games.
He was already part of Sweden's successful World Cup team in 1994, winning the bronze medal in USA. He spent most of the championship in the US on the bench, but played and scored a goal in the bronze match against Bulgaria. He also played in the World Cup in South Korea/Japan in 2002 and in Germany in 2006, as well as the European Championships in Belgium/Holland in 2000, in Portugal in 2004 and in Switzerland/Austria in 2008 (after making a noticed comeback in the national team for this European Championship).
After failing to go to the 2010 World Cup with Sweden, Larsson ended his national team career for good.