Sweden veteran striker Larsson to retire

Henrik Larsson is retiring from professional football.

The former Celtic and Barcelona striker – considered one of Sweden’s greatest ever players – said Tuesday he will quit after the Swedish season ends on Nov. 1.

“I’m 38 now, it has been enough,” Larsson said in a statement. “I enjoyed my career and I want to thank everyone who has supported me in all these years. Now it’s time for something else.”

Larsson, who plays for Helsingborg in the Swedish league, won the Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer in 2000-01 while at Celtic, where he is still known among fans as “the King of Kings.”

He also had a stint at Manchester United in 2007, and played in three World Cups and three European Championships for Sweden. He scored 37 goals in 106 international matches for Sweden.

“I will think things over what I would like to do. First I will need time to adjust to the non-football life,” Larsson said. “What I do know now, is that I’m 100 percent sure about my decision to end my playing career.”

Helsingborg sporting director Jesper Jansson said club officials had hoped Larsson would play another season “but respect Henrik’s decision and feel tremendously grateful for all his contributions.”

Larsson started his professional career at Dutch club Feyenoord in 1993, when he was 22. A year later, he was a substitute in the Sweden squad that finished third at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

His biggest European club triumph came in 2006, when Larsson’s two assists helped Barcelona rally to beat Arsenal 2-1 and clinch its first Champions League title in 14 years.

Larsson retired several times from the national team, only to come back when Sweden needed his skill and experience. After two years focusing only on club football, he made a surprise comeback for Sweden at the 2008 European Championship.

Though remarkably fit for his age, Larsson had lost some of his goal-scoring edge, and didn’t convert during the tournament. He also failed to score in Sweden’s unsuccessful qualifying campaign for next year’s World Cup. His last goal for the national team was in a friendly against France on Aug. 20, 2008.