Larsson excited by reports of two-year deal with Barcelona

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The Independent Football

Henrik Larsson insists that he has received no offer from Barcelona - but the Sweden striker admitted that he would be delighted to join the Catalan club.

Henrik Larsson insists that he has received no offer from Barcelona - but the Sweden striker admitted that he would be delighted to join the Catalan club.

Reports in the Spanish press claimed that Larsson, who has scored three goals in Euro 2004, had already agreed a two-year deal with Barça, but the former Celtic striker denied there had been an agreement. "However, it would be great if it is true," he said yesterday.

Larsson is available on a free transfer from the Scottish champions and will be hoping to fire the Swedes into the semi-finals with victory over the Netherlands in tomorrow's last-eight tie. If he were to move to Barça, it would almost certainly see the end of the club's pursuit of David Trezeguet, with the France striker close to agreeing a new contract with Juventus.

"Trezeguet will stay in Turin," the Juve vice-president, Roberto Bettega, said. "[Juve's director general] Luciano Moggi and Trezeguet's father have been talking during the European Championship about his new contract. [The new coach] Fabio Capello wanted him to stay, and we are now working to increase the contract of Trezeguet."

Larsson may have scored three goals in three games here in Portugal but the Swede says Ruud van Nistelrooy will be the best striker on the pitch in tomorrow's quarter-final.

"I can sum him up in one word: he's great," Larsson said. "He can score from many positions and it's very hard for defenders to follow him. He's strong and he's quick and he's not scared of scoring."

The form of Larsson, who was persuaded to return to international football just before Euro 2004, has been crucial in Sweden's run to the quarter-finals but the 32-year-old is not interested in comparisons with Van Nistelrooy. "No, I don't see any similarities," he said. "Van Nistelrooy is far too good."

Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will relish the chance to prove a point tomorrow. Larsson had the only undistinguished spell of his career after joining Feyenoord in 1993, scoring just 26 league goals before moving on to Celtic in 1997 and gaining a reputation as one of Europe's finest strikers.

Ibrahimovic, who is 10 years Larsson's junior, has been a little more successful since moving to Ajax in 2001. But he is still viewed as an underachiever by the Dutch, who complain that he shows only flashes of his best form for the club.

"I had a three-and-a-half-year spell in Holland and it was nice to play there," Larsson said. "I like Holland as a country but I didn't like it on the pitch. I've played against a lot of the players in the Dutch side and I know they're very good. I also know the Dutch coach, Dick Advocaat. I've played against his teams in Holland and Scotland and hopefully I can surprise him."

Ibrahimovic, 22, has several past and present team-mates in the Dutch squad. "I've spoken to Rafael van der Vaart, Andy van der Meyde and Johnny Heitinga and we've been joking about the game," Ibrahimovic said. "It's going to be fun playing against team-mates."