Celtic legend Henrik Larsson steps in to manage Barcelona after Koeman ban

By Euan Davidson

October 2, 2021

Celtic legend and King of Kings Henrik Larsson will be leading Barcelona from the dugout when they face Atlético Madrid tonight.

Beleaguered manager Ronald Koeman is currently serving a two-match touchline ban [Sun]. The Dutch coach, who had spells with Everton and Southampton, remonstrated with La Liga officials “ostentatiously” in a goalless draw with Cadiz [Sky Sports].

It means Larsson, Koeman’s right-hand man, will be going up against Diego Simeone. Barcelona currently sit 8th in La Liga with just 12 points, although they do have two matches in hand [Sky Sports].

The Blaugrana, who lost Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in the summer, have laboured under boss Ronald Koeman. Former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was tentatively linked with taking over. Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez, something of a dream pick for Celtic supporters after Neil Lennon left, has also been connected [Marca].

For Larsson, it would have seemed like the dream opportunity. To return to a club where he won a Champions League, work with a Dutch master in Koeman, and era-defining talents like Leo Messi is a no-brainer.

But financial difficulties have hamstrung Koeman and his coaching staff, Larsson included, at the famous club.

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Celtic legend Henrik Larsson thrust into spotlight with Barcelona

Quite the moment for Henrik Larsson, then.

At the very least, he’ll have Alfred Schreuder alongside him. Formerly manager of FC Twente and Hoffenheim, as well as being an assistant for Ajax, Schreuder will be with the King of Kings in the dugout.

Still, it’s Larsson that’s the real name here. If he’s able to negotiate a troubled Barca side past the La Liga champions, it would do his CV the world of good.

Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Yes, it’ll still be Koeman’s tactics and personnel being used. However, much will be incumbent on Larsson to set the tone, and prepare his players in the dressing room before heading out onto the Wanda Metropolitano turf.

Perennially linked with the Celtic job whenever it comes up [Daily Record], it’d be great to see the Magnificent 7 turn form around, even on a one-game basis, for Barcelona.

Larsson, who recently turned 50, has managed Landskrona, Falkenberg and his boyhood club Helsingborg. But this may be his biggest test yet, after a glorious and trophy-laden playing career.

We wish him the absolute best tonight.

Read more: Celtic youngster Scott Robertson bags first senior goal in draw for Crewe

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