Larsson says tearful farewell
Swedish striker plays his final ever match
By Richard Bailey. Last Updated: 29/10/09 2:16pm
Larsson: Calls time on his career
Henrik Larsson bid a tearful farewell to professional football after he played his last ever game for hometown club Helsingborg.
The 38-year-old began his career with Hogaborg before spells with Helsingborg, Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United yielding a total of 415 goals.
The striker was also a vital member of the Swedish national team making over 100 appearances for his country scoring 37 goals.
The prolific marksman won four SPL titles with Celtic, two La Liga crowns with Barca as well as a UEFA Champions League winners' medal in 2006 and a Premier League title while on loan at United.
The result in his final game was not fitting for someone who has given football so much as Helsingborg sank to a 2-0 defeat to Djurgarden.
An emotional Larsson was close to tears when video tributes from United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, former Sweden coach Lars Lagerback and international team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic were displayed on a huge screen after the match.
"It really hits you when you meet all this love," he said. "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 was also moved that Helsingborg had decided to retire his number 17 shirt in his honour: "It's a fantastic gesture by the club, to retire it for ever. I'm very moved."
Larsson admitted that retirement had already left him feeling empty and revealed he would like to remain in the game in some capacity.
"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," he pointed out.
"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 my life."