Henrik Larsson appeared in just 13 matches for Manchester United but on the day of the Swedish forward’s retirement, aged 38, his impact at Old Trafford is still felt. In a glittering career spanning more than 700 games and 400 goals, Larsson drew his footballing days to a close at Helsingborg last night.
Larsson, signed on loan from Helsingborg in January 2007, scored on his Old Trafford début against Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round. The Swede then scored in United’s 4–0 Premier League win over Watford and again on his final appearance against Lille at Old Trafford.
Following the striker’s final game – a 2-0 defeat to Djurgardens IF – United manager Sir Alex Ferguson sent a video message to Larsson, which was played on the stadium screen. For a player dubbed the ‘Ice Man’, Larsson was overcome with emotion.
“It really hits you when meet all this love,” said Larsson.
“I’m normally quite a cool character but right now I feel like I could cry.
“It’s huge to be able to end it on our home ground and it has to end some time. It’s rubbish to end things this way (with a defeat) but you can’t have everything in life.”
Larsson, who is likely to complete his UEFA badges before moving into management, has already been linked with a number of coaching jobs, including at former club Celtic.
“I don’t know if I have to go down to the employment agency and do certain things, but I have the luck and luxury to be able to say no to jobs which are offered to me,” added Larsson.
“But obviously there is an emptiness at present, and I need to fill that emptiness with something.
“I’m fortunate enough to have earned enough money to be able to sit back and not panic, but I have to do something. I can’t just glide through the rest of life.”
Larsson is remembered fondly at Old Trafford, not just for the key role the former-Barcelona forward played in two months at the club, but his honest approach to the game.
Enjoy your retirement, Henke.
Goals for Manchester United
Versus Aston Villa