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Football

Larsson all set to join Barcelona


MADRID, Spain -- Sweden striker Henrik Larsson will undergo a medical at Barcelona later today prior to signing for the club, the Primera Liga giants said on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old, who left Scottish champions Celtic at the end of last season, is the third player to join the Catalan club this summer.

Barcelona have already signed Brazil defender Juliano Belletti from Villarreal for 3.7m euros ($4.50m) and French midfielder Ludovic Giuly from Monaco for a reported 6.7m euros ($8.15m).

Larsson came out of international retirement to play for Sweden at Euro 2004 and scored three goals to help them reach the quarterfinals where they lost to the Netherlands on penalties.

Spanish media reported that Larsson, a free agent, will sign a two-year contract for a salary in the region of 2 million euros ($2.43m) per season plus bonus payments.

Larsson has scored 28 goals in 78 internationals for Sweden and won the Golden Boot award as the top scorer in European club football for his 35 goals for Celtic in 2000-2001.

Larsson won four league titles during seven seasons at Celtic, ending a sparkling career with a double in the side's 3-1 win over Dunfermline in the Scottish Cup final in May.

He is the third highest scorer in the Glasgow club's history with 242 goals from 315 appearances.

He made his full international debut for Sweden in 1993 and the following year helped his country finish third at the World Cup in the United States.

He played in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan but was hampered by injury and Sweden went out in the second round to Senegal after a golden goal.

Larsson announced his decision to retire from the international scene a year later after playing in a European championship qualifier over Hungary in April 2003.

But he was persuaded back after 110,000 fans signed a petition and after he received a letter of encouragement from UEFA's Swedish president Lennart Johansson.

Larsson scored twice in Sweden's 5-0 rout of Bulgaria in their Euro 2004 opener and scored a penalty in his side's 2-2 draw with Denmark that ensured their qualification for the quarter-finals.

He came within a whisker of scoring the winner in his side's 0-0 draw against the Netherlands on Sunday when he hit the top of the bar with a shot on the turn in the final minutes of extra time.


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