Henrik Larsson has looked ahead to Celtic hosting Barcelona and suggested that the Catalans may benefit from a striker ‘like Zlatan Ibrahimovic’.
The retired striker, who in two years at the Camp Nou won two League titles and one European Cup, considered Barca’s impending reunion this week with Celtic.
Whilst a meeting with Larsson’s most notable former club, Tuesday’s game is also a rematch of last year’s group stage encounter, which the Scots won.
“Last year Barca suffered a lot,” mused the 42-year-old in conversation this week with Radio Catalunya.
“In Scotland Celtic won and in the Camp Nou they were on the verge of a draw. But now Barca are better prepared in every way and are stronger than Celtic.
“They are favourites, but Celtic never gives up. The team that plays best will deserve to win.”
Larsson was asked if Barca currently miss a striker in a different mould to that already on their books, and considered an international colleague who has already spent time at the club.
“It is hard to say if they need a pure No 9. Messi plays very well and always scores many goals, but it is also good to have players with different profiles.
“Messi can score, but so can one of the wide attackers or one of the midfielders.
“So, they may not need a striker like me, but rather one with a profile like Ibrahimovic, who did very well in his season at Barcelona.
“Messi is the best player in the world. It was a treat to see him grow alongside Ronaldinho and to see how he has improved to what he is now.
Larsson scored 19 goals in 58 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions between 2004 and 2006.
“My time at the club was fantastic and the connection with the fans was spectacular. I was not always played, but I always had the mentality to pull for the group and I gave everything in every game.
“I left because I felt that I still had the strength to play for a few more years and besides, my son was 10 and it was time to go home and let him grow up in Sweden.
“I keep in touch with my former colleagues at Barca, whilst when I go to Barcelona I connect right away, as if time had stood still. It is very special when I return, everything fits.
“Celtic? They are more than a club, it is a total experience – you eat, sleep and breathe Celtic wherever you go.
“It is not easy to play there because you are bound to win every game and every title – either you adapt or you leave.”
Larsson is currently training for his coaching badges.
“Time will tell if I become a trainer in a major league. Openly I cannot say where I’d like to go, because if I say Scotland then it will be read that I mean Celtic and now I do not know where I will be. Barca? You never know…”