17 of the best quotes on Henrik Larsson: ‘They’d say his name in awed tones’

Quick Reads

No matter what team you support, Henrik Larsson is one of those rare footballers who you can’t help but admire.

The former Celtic and Manchester United striker scored 434 goals in 772 appearances during his club career, and he won a fair few trophies along the way too.

If that isn’t enough to impress you then we’ve collected some of the best tributes to the forward from some of the biggest figures in the game

Thierry Henry

After Larsson inspired Barcelona’s comeback in the 2006 Champions League final against Henry’s Arsenal: “People always talk about Ronaldinho, and everything, but I didn’t see him today, I saw Henrik LarssonHe came on, he changed the game, that is what killed the game.

“All the time you talk about Ronaldinho and Eto’o and people like that. Let’s talk about the proper people who make the difference, that was Henrik Larsson, who made two assists. I didn’t see Ronaldinho and I didn’t see Eto’o.”

Ronaldinho 

“With Henrik leaving us at the end of the season this club is losing a great scorer, no question. But I am also losing a great friend. Henrik was my idol and now that I am playing next to him it is fantastic.

“He is a real friend and that is a pleasure. I just want to enjoy the remaining time he has with us rather than dwell on what we will be missing when he’s gone.”

Samuel Eto’o

“Henrik taught me how to become invisible, how to make other players forget about me.”

Sir Alex Ferguson

“On arrival at United, he seemed a bit of a cult figure with our players. They would say his name in awed tones. For a man of 35, his receptiveness to information on the coaching side was amazing.

“At every session he was rapt. He wanted to listen to Carlos Queiroz, the tactics lectures, he was into every nuance of what we did. In training he was superb, his movement, his positional play. His three goals for us was no measure of his contribution.

“In his last game in our colours at Middlesbrough we were winning 2-1 and Henrik went back to play in midfield and ran his balls off. On his return to the dressing room, all the players stood up and applauded him and the staff joined in. It takes some player to make that kind of impact in two months.”

READ: Remembering Henrik Larsson’s brief loan spell at Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“We all know Henrik is a quality player. I have said before I think he is the best Scandinavian player since Michael Laudrup – and he has shown that in training and games.

“His touch is something we can all learn from. You never stop learning as a player and Henrik has done a few tricks in training that have had us all standing up and looking and saying, ‘We have not seen that before.'”

Gianluigi Buffon

“Over my career I have played against some of the best strikers there has ever been. Both Ronaldos, Roberto Baggio, Zlatan Ibrahimovic – and I can honestly say Larsson is not out of place in those names. I faced him against Celtic and Sweden and he was a player to fear, he was very special.”

Chris Sutton

“I liked Shearer a lot, obviously he was brilliant, but Henrik Larsson (was my favourite strike partner). Towards the latter stages of my career, he was a brilliant all-round footballer.

“He could do everything – finish, link up, really unselfish. I enjoyed that partnership more.”

Vincent Kompany

“I’ve faced many great strikers, but the toughest one was when I was 17 and playing against a great Celtic team. On the other side was Larsson and Hartson, which was just an unbelievable strike force.”

Martin O’Neil

After Larsson scored a hat-trick in the 2001 Scottish League Cup final: “I think he’s a fantastic player, a truly great player and his second one was the most important goal.

“His third goal was absolutely world class. It was a sensational finish and he just keeps getting better. I’ve always said that Larsson would score goals in any league and that last goal would grace any cup final at any given stage, in any century – he is a marvellous footballer.”

Neil Lennon

“Henrik is an incredible talent, a real predator, and it’s not until you work with him that you realise how special he is. He’s so down to earth.

“It also speaks volumes for him that it was only 15 months ago he suffered a horrendous leg break. I’ve been through a bad injury and it’s not so easy to come back and play to a high standard.”

Mikael Lustig

“Probably one of the best players Sweden has ever produced.”

Xavi 

“From the first day I saw him in training, the way he moved and the way he was in the box, I knew he was going to be a really good player for us.

“The impact he had on the team was so important. In the final of the Champions League he made the assists for the goals that helped us win the trophy.

“He was so important for us and he was loved by the supporters and his team-mates.”

Andres Iniesta

“Good night!! I leave you this photo with a phenomenon with who I shared the jersey and titles!”

Sir Alex Ferguson

“He’s been fantastic for us, his professionalism, his attitude, everything he’s done has been excellent. 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.”

Arsene Wenger

On whether seeing Larsson brought back bad memories of the 2006 Champions League final: “Not bad memories, nightmares. But he is a player I like a lot. I like first of all his intelligence and I like his team attitude.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“Henrik was good enough to play for any team in Europe. But after playing at Celtic Park it is easy to understand why he chose to stay there for so long.”

Henrik Larsson

The man himself on his beloved Celtic: “This is the club for me. This is where I made myself as a player, this is where everybody got to know me and this is the club that I will be eternally grateful to for giving me that opportunity when maybe other clubs didn’t believe in me.

“This is where I got back into the Swedish national team and went on to play in European Championships and World Cups for Sweden. I couldn’t have done that without Celtic.”


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