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Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007, 21:36 GMT
Larsson planned Celtic swansong
Henrik Larsson
Henrik Larsson arrived at Celtic in 1997 and scored 242 goals
Former Celtic hero Henrik Larsson has revealed that he planned to retire when he left the Glasgow club in May 2004.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, the Swedish striker said he intended to return to his homeland, until Barcelona made a bid for him at Euro 2004 in Portugal.

"I had been at Celtic for seven years, but I thought it was time to do something else," he said.

"I really didn't have anything lined up, when I got a phone call from my wife saying Barcelona were interested."

In an hour-long interview with former Celtic midfielder Murdo McLeod and former Rangers forward Gordon Smith, Larsson also spoke about his bitter disappointment in losing out to Porto in the 2003 Uefa Cup final in Seville.

He later won the Uefa Champions League with Barcelona in 2006, playing a key role in the winning goals against Premiership side Arsenal.

"I didn't want to lose that game, because I had already lost one final, and I didn't want to go through that again," said Larsson.

I'm almost 36 now, and I have to say I'm going to keep playing as long as I can, even though playing in Sweden isn't as high a level as Spain or the Premiership
Henrik Larsson

"It's so terrible when you lose a big final like that.

"It was my last chance to win a major trophy, so I was pleased.

"It was pure happiness, and one of the best days of my life."

Larsson signed for Celtic in 1997 and went on to score 242 goals in seven years for the club.

He was appointed an honorary MBE in 2006 in recognition of his services to football.

The prolific goalscorer made a surprise loan move from his hometown club Helsingborg in 2006 when Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson lured him to Old Trafford.

He scored on his debut in a 2-1 win against Aston Villa in the FA Cup.

He returned to Sweden last week, having promised to spend more time with his young son Jordan.

Larrson added: "I'm almost 36 now, and I have to say I'm going to keep playing as long as I can, even though playing in Sweden isn't as high a level as Spain or the Premiership.

"But it's still the thing I love to do, so I'm going to keep playing for as long as I can."

You can listen to the full interview with Henrik Larsson at the Sportsound website.

The Larsson kiss goodnight
11 Mar 07 |  Man Utd
Larsson snubs Man Utd extension
20 Feb 07 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 2-1 Aston Villa
07 Jan 07 |  FA Cup
Man Utd capture Larsson on loan
01 Dec 06 |  Man Utd
Larsson ends international career
17 Jul 06 |  Internationals
Striker Larsson to be given MBE
26 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Larsson joins Barcelona
30 Jun 04 |  Europe
Larsson's parting gift
22 May 04 |  Scottish League
Larsson's final bow
25 May 04 |  Celtic
Tears end Larsson reign
16 May 04 |  Celtic


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