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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 02:27 GMT 03:27 UK
Larsson excited about his future
By John Sinnott
BBC Sport in Paris

Henrik Larsson
Larsson says he has no regrets about moving back home

Henrik Larsson has no regrets about quitting Barcelona despite playing a key role in the club's victory over Arsenal in the Champions League final.

The striker, who set up both goals in the 2-1 win in Paris, turned down a new contract to sign an 18-month contract with hometown club Helsingborg.

"I'm almost 35 years old," he told BBC Sport. "I've got kids and they need to understand how we live in Sweden.

"My house there is finished and we need to go back there."

The former Celtic frontman also admitted the lack of first-team opportunities in Spain played a part in the decision-making process.

"I want to play football. I feel I haven't played as much as I would love to because of the great players we have at Barcelona," he said.

Frank Rijkaard's instructions were to stay central and move and try and win it
Henrik Larsson

"I maybe have one or two more years playing at a decent level and I want to do that playing for 90 minutes."

Larsson made a big impact coming off the bench at the Stade de France, playing in Samuel Eto'o for the equaliser and then setting up fellow substitute Juliano Belletti for the winner.

"My job was to come on and try and move and open up the defence," explained the Swede.

"Frank Rijkaard's instructions were to stay central and move and try to win it."

Eto'o said Barcelona had been inspired by Liverpool's recovery from 3-0 down in last season's Champions League final against AC Milan.

"We never thought the game was lost," said the Cameroon striker.

It's special to win the final, and even more special to do it against your old team
Barcelona's Giovanni van Bronckhorst

"After having seen what Liverpool did last year, we told ourselves not to throw in the towel. We followed Liverpool's example.

"In the final you can't doubt yourselves. The final is played right up to the last whistle. We covered ourselves in the spirit of Liverpool."

Former Arsenal defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst said winning the final against his ex-team-mates had been particularly emotional.

"It's special to win the final, and even more special to do it against your old team," said the Dutchman.

"It felt a bit strange but I am happy to be on the winning side.

Arsenal had even more spirit with 10 men - it gave them an even tougher mentality
Frank Rijkaard
Barcelona coach

"It means a lot, the team has worked hard to win this prize. It is only the second time the club has won it.

"We have had a great season. We are the champions of Spain and now this."

Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard saluted goalkeeper Victor Valdes for keeping his side in the game.

Valdes saved twice from Thierry Henry in the first three minutes, and Rijkaard said: "Valdes played a decisive role. He saved us at crucial moments.

"We knew it would be a difficult game against Arsenal. It happens a lot that when one player is sent off it is even harder to break through.

"They had even more spirit with 10 men. It gave them an even tougher mentality.

"It was an attractive game, though. Arsenal started really well and we grew into the game.

"The sending-off changed the game dramatically. It was a pity for the game but you have to live with that."

SEE ALSO
Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal
17 May 06 |  Europe
Gunners fans drown their sorrows
17 May 06 |  UK News
Champions League final photos
17 May 06 |  Photo Galleries
Experts' views on Arsenal
17 May 06 |  Europe


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