Legendary Swedish striker, Henrik Larsson, could not turn down Manchester United for a second time when the Red Devils came calling in the 2006/2007 season.
The former Celtic forward enjoyed an illustrious career, where he scored a hatful of goals for Celtic and won the Champions League with Barcelona.
The man from Helsingborg scored an incredible 290 goals in 540 games as a professional and won 16 major trophies.
Speaking to the Utd Podcast clip on the club’s official website, Larsson was asked what he thought about his short but sweet time as a Red Devil being described as “the greatest loan in the history of football”.
The Swede responded humbly by claiming he was “just happy that Sir Alex called” and revealed he had actually said no to the club back in 1999.
He was not going to make the same mistake for a second time.
One of the primary reasons that Larsson decided to sign for United was the pull of playing for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Speaking of the Scot, the former Sweden international asserted, “he is one of the greatest managers in the history of the game. The chance to play for him, for that team and the club is something I simply couldn’t resist”.
Larsson also spoke of the temptation to prove himself in the Premier League and for a club like United was just too big to turn down.
Amazingly, the former striker only played 13 times for the Red Devils and found the net three times. However his time at the club was so much more than crude statistics.
The then 35 year old provided invaluable experience to a young team in the busy winter months and allowed the youthful Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo to shine and grow into the players that would ensure the side would dominate England and Europe in 2008.
Interestingly, the Celtic legend claimed that he found out about United’s interest through his Helsingborgs teammate, Stuart Baxter. He explained that a scout at the Mancunian side was friends with Baxter and rang him and asked if the Swede would be interested in joining the Red Devils on loan.
Larsson claimed it was “a good solution for me and for United as well”. This was due to the fact that the Swedish league goes on winter break between November and March and he felt that the playing regular games at 35 would prepare him better than the intensive pre-season training he would have faced in Sweden.
Finally, on entering Sir Alex’s office for the first time, the Champions League winning forward claimed “I had to pinch myself” while standing in front of and talking to one of the all-time great coaches.
The Swede’s time at the club was all too short and he is certainly one of those players that fans wish had been able to join earlier in their career, much like Edwin van der Sar, Laurent Blanc or his compatriot, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.