'I left Barca because they were too good' - Larsson

The legendary Swede has claimed that Celtic are a similar club to the Blaugrana and says he has been fascinated by Lionel Messi's development
Former Barcelona forward Henrik Larsson says he chose to leave the Catalans as he felt the team were too good.

The legendary Swede moved to Catalunya in 2004, winning a pair of Liga titles and the Champions League over the course of a two-year spell.

He left in 2006 to return to hometown club Helsingborgs and explained that the competition in the squad motivated his decision to return home.

"The team were very good, perhaps too good," he told Radio Catalunya when quizzed on the reasons behind his departure.

"I felt I still had the strength to play for a few years more. Besides, my son was 10 and it was time to go home to let him grow up in Sweden.

"My time at the club was fantastic and the connection with the fans was spectacular."

Barca clash with another of Larsson's former clubs, Celtic, in the Champions League in midweek and the 42-year-old remarked that the two clubs share a similar philosophy.

"Celtic are also 'Mes que un club'. You have to win everything, all the titles you compete for, so in this aspect, there is not much difference between the clubs.

"Barca are better, but Celtic are a team who never give up."

Larsson also lauded the quality of Barca star Lionel Messi, who broke into the Blaugrana team during his time at the club.

"He's the best player in the world. It was a treat to see him grow alongside Ronaldinho and see how he has improved to what he is now," he concluded.