As Celtic host Barcelona this week, Henrik Larsson has reflected on his time at both clubs and on his admiration for Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez.
The Swedish striker spent seven years at Celtic, scoring 174 goals in 221 appearances and winning eight major honours, before switching to Catalonia for a two year spell that brought a further 13 goals and four titles, including the Champions League.
With his two former teams meeting in matchday four of the European competition this week, the 41-year-old admits he is torn over who to cheer.
“The best result would be a draw. I spent a fantastic seven years in Glasgow and two fabulous seasons in Barcelona. I cannot choose between them,” he told El Pais today.
“In the first leg Celtic defended very well and with pride, but Barca dominates the ball like no-one before. It is hard to play better football than them. They cannot be criticised for anything.”
Larsson’s admiration for Barca lies predominantly with two players, the first of which is Messi.
“Anyone who says they predicted he was going to be that good is lying. I will always be able to tell my family that I shared a dressing room with him.
“Messi deserves every award, but at the same time, Xavi is the soul of the team. He never misses pass, plays in a very difficult position and whilst he doesn’t score many goals, he is the key.”
The forward was popular at Camp Nou during his brief stint in Spain and reflected on why that might have been.
“For my personality, I think. I was not a star like Ronaldinho, Deco or Eto’o, but I worked hard and did not complain because I was on the bench.
“They appreciated that I came from being a reference at Celtic to accepted a new role at Barca. They liked me because I was an honest player.”