"People always talk about Ronaldinho and magic, but I didn't see him today - I saw Henrik Larsson. That's where the magic was. Sometimes you talk about Ronaldinho and (Samuel) Eto'o and people like that, but you need to talk about the proper footballer who made the difference and that was Larsson."
It was made in the heat of the moment, but Thierry Henry's outburst following Arsenal's UEFA Champions League defeat by Barcelona clearly didn't lack conviction, and is typical of the esteem in which Henrik Larsson tends to be held by his peers.
Even Ronaldinho, one of those singled out by Henry, claims that the Swede was, and remains, his "idol", and the Brazilian is not alone at the Camp Nou in mourning the return to Helsingborgs of a player Frank Rijkaard describes as "an exemplary sportsman".
Larsson has never been as eye-catching a player as his Barcelona team-mates Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi, but he has justifiably earned universal acclaim for neither playing nor behaving like a star and remains a player about whom no-one in the game seems to have a bad word to say. In 2004, he was voted Sweden's greatest player of the past 50 years, this after returning to excel in the country's UEFA EURO 2004 campaign, and many expect his strike partnership with Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be among the most potent at Germany 2006.
The pair did, though, endure a frustrating afternoon against a determined, resolute Trinidad and Tobago rearguard in their opening match and, if Sweden are to progress and prosper in this tournament, Larsson will undoubtedly need to rise to the occasion. The odds on him doing so will, or certainly should, be very short indeed.
Henrik Larsson's adidas +10 team
As goalkeeper, I think Gordon Banks would be the man for the job. He was one of the best-ever and I think everyone remembers his amazing save from Pele's header in the 1970 World Cup.
At right-back, I would have my old Sweden team-mate Roland Nilsson - an amazingly good defender. He is a good person, too.
Then, in the centre, I would start with Bjorn Lilius, whom I played with in Helsingborgs. He was a good footballer and a close friend of mine.
Next to him, I would play Johan Mjallby. We played together for many years in Celtic and in the national team and he was always a guy you could depend on.
On the left, it would have to be Leonardo from that Brazil team which won the World Cup in 1994. He was an excellent left-back.
Then comes my left winger. Who did I put there again? Of course, Ryan Giggs. He has been a fantastic football player, a great crosser of the ball. As a striker, I'd love to have him in my starting 11.
Inside of him, I would have Lino Boriero, another former team-mate of mine at Helsingborgs. Lino was an incredibly skilful player and an excellent passer of the ball, really great.
Alongside him in the centre I'll go for Patrik Sundstrom. We played together in Hogaborg, my first club, and later for Helsingborgs too. He was a good footballer, and excellent on free-kicks.
To Patrick's right, I think I would play the Brazilian, Kaka. He's an incredible footballer.
As for my fellow striker, it couldn't be anyone else but my all-time hero, the great Pele.
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