Larsson to make shock comeback in Austria and Switzerland
Stockholm -- Swedish coach Lars Lagerback Tuesday selected veteran forward Henrik Larsson for his 23-man squad for the upcoming European Championship finals in Austria and Switzerland.
The announcement came as a great surprise. The Swedish hero had previously announced his international retirement following the 2006 world cup in Germany.
Lagerback said he contacted Larsson on Monday, and after a few hours of consideration the striker who has played for giants like Barcelona, Glasgow Celtic and Manchester United agreed to a recall, saying he wanted to be on the squad.
Larsson was "100 per cent motivated" to be on the team, Lagerback said, lauding Larsson’s skills as a player that makes others better.
The forward has developed a cult reputation amongst football fans worldwide thanks to his intelligent and learned style, combined with a precise analysis of the game. Participation in Austria and Switzerland will be Larsson’s sixth major tournament in the blue and yellow of Sweden.
Larsson has returned from retirement before. In 2002 the Swedish star had stepped down from national duties to prolong his club career but was persuaded to return following a massive public campaign and a letter from the Swedish prime minister.
Sweden takes on reigning European Champions Greece as well as Spain and Russia in an extremely tricky Group D.
Lagerback said Spain are currently "the best offensive team" in the world.
Other choices in the squad included Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and team captain Fredrik Ljungberg of London club West Ham.
The 2008 European Championship kicks off on June 7 when joint hosts Switzerland meet the Czech Republic.DPA