Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From a Scottish Newspaper:-
Daily Record said:FOOTBALL: IT'S A DONE MEAL IF CELTS MAKE IT Dec 5 2004
By Gavin Berry
HENRIK LARSSON has promised to take the entire Barcelona squad out for a slap-up meal if they can help Celtic secure a UEFA Cup place.
The former Hoops hero has begged his team-mates to give it their all to dump Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday and guarantee Martin O'Neill's men post- Christmas European football. Celtic are in pole position to finish third in their Champions League group and a win in the final game against AC Milan at Parkhead would secure a UEFA Cup spot. But anything other than victory against the Serie A giants could see Ukrainians Shakhtar edging them out if they get a result in their Barca showdown.
Larsson is unable to help his old club after being sidelined for the season after suffering a horrific knee injury last month against Real Madrid.
But the Swede is doing his utmost to ensure his Barca team-mates do the Celts a favour in his absence and hand Martin O'Neill's men a European lifeline.
Barca striker Samuel Eto'o, who scored against Celtic in the Nou Camp 10 days ago, revealed: 'Henrik has said he will invite the whole team out for dinner if we win on Tuesday. He has demanded the players give maximum effort to get the victory because his wish is for Celtic to finish in third place in the group.
'Honestly, I am astonished at Henrik's love for Celtic but I'm beginning to understand just why he is such an idol in the eyes of their fans.
'Of course, I'd like to win anyway but even more for Henrik. Our objective is to win in the Ukraine and while it won't be easy we want to help Celtic.
'If we can go through to the knockout stages and get Celtic into the UEFA Cup then I will be happy. Celtic can be assured I will do everything to help them.
'Personally, when the draw was made in Monaco I thought Celtic would definitely finish in third place but their result in the Ukraine made it difficult.'
Now it's Barcelona who face the tricky prospect of a match in Donetsk when conditions will be freezing.
And Cameroon star Eto'o said: 'The atmosphere and cold weather will make it hard for us.
'Shakhtar are a complicated team but with the players we have we are able to triumph in the Ukraine.
'I want to be top scorer in the Champions League and my aim is to score at least one in every match.
'I'm not worried about the physical presence of Shakhtar - I always receive blows on the field.'
Larsson, meanwhile, will start his recuperation in the next couple of days after his make or break knee surgery was deemed to be a complete success.
He was operated on by renowned surgeon Dr Richard Steadman at his Colorado clinic on Friday.
Larsson, 33, severed ligaments in his left knee last month and will be out for the rest of the season.
The hitman star had planned to retire next summer but before the surgery Barca offered him an extension of a further year to his contract.
Steadman has saved the careers of a host of top players including Alan Shearer.
He recently operated on Larsson's former Parkhead team-mate John Kennedy who is battling to back to fitness after being injured playing for Scotland against Romania.