‘Barca need someone like me’

Henrik Larsson has urged Barcelona to bring in another forward to offer an alternative to Lionel Messi and perhaps one in a similar mould to himself.

The Swede spent two years at the Camp Nou towards the end of his career and believes that the option he offered the Catalans in attack is perhaps not available to them at the moment.

“When Messi plays, one’s sense is that the club do not need anything else, he is able to do everything,” began Larsson in conversation with Mundo Deportivo.

“But in reality, it would not hurt for them to have someone of a different profile for some games, when the concerns of the opponent see them playing increasingly defensive. It would also generate even more space for Messi.

“Everyone knows Barca’s style of play, so it is sometimes positive to introduce alternatives as a surprise. A forward in this style would multiply the attentions of the defence. It is just my opinion, I do not know if it is right or wrong, but it is my view.

“The club do not need to change their general philosophy to bring in something different, in a timely manner.

“If we compare Barca to Bayern, the two best teams when they have the ball, you can see that Bayern’s squad has different profiles in attack with ‘No 9s’ such as Mandzukic and Muller.

“Sometimes they play together and then Ribery and Robben are benefited. The opponent should know that danger can come from different angles and, sometimes, the more the merrier.

“What kind of player would suit Barca? There are two options in my opinion. Either a youngster who is really eager to learn and accepts his role is not that of a protagonist until he becomes better or deserves it, or a veteran, as was the case with me, to accept certain preconditions.

“By contrast, a player who is neither a youngster nor a veteran who is dedicated and who is already entrenched in the club is not an option for this particular need.”

Larsson reflected on his role accepted in joining La Blaugrana in 2004.

“[Frank] Rijkaard called me and warned me that I would not be a starter in every game. It is something else that I tried to give everything in training and ended up playing almost all of the major games in the first season I was in Barcelona.

“After I got injured, everything then changed.

“My work ethic? To me that is what being a professional is. Beyond your role in the team you are part of a group and you all have to help, whether you play or not. If you train hard, your chances will come in the end.”

The forward was asked of the current Barca side under Tata Martino.

“I’ve seen some changes, but the idea remains the same, as it should be. We talk about the identity of the club and if it has remained for so many years then it is precisely for it not being changed.

“It is also true that Bayern are a clear threat in the Champions League and they seem to have moved one step further, so Barca cannot miss that train. They have to climb.”

Tags Larsson Messi