Celtic’s Carl Starfelt has his say on the Kyogo Furuhashi v Henrik Larsson debate

It almost feels cruel owing to Celtic centre-back Carl Starfelt’s Swedish nationality.

It is though too tempting to resist how he would match up one of his club and country’s footballing icons in Henrik Larsson with his current team-mate and a successor in the special striker states in a certain Kyogo Furuhashi. Starfelt demonstrates deftness and diplomacy in his handling of the poser. Only half-chuckling when it is put to him that he wouldn’t be allowed back in his homeland if he was considered to in any way slight Larsson…who scored, uhm, just the 242 goals in seven stunning seasons with Celtic. Before, at the age of 32, departing for Barcelona where he would become a Champions League winner. Those facts can be set against two seasons and 49 goals in Glasgow for a Furuhashi who unquestionably has consistently excelled for Ange Postecoglou’s men. They are understandably alighted on by Starfelt in addressing the issue. Even in stressing the upward career trajectory for the Japanese forward, who will be looking to break the 30-goal mark for the season as Celtic seek to seal the title against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday afternoon.

“It is hard to make a fair comparison because Larsson was here for a very long time and is a club legend but I can see why people do because they are both very good players,” Starfelt said. “Larsson was outstanding for Sweden and won the Champions League as well so he is a legend back home too. Kyogo’s potential is very high so we will see at the end of his career how well he did. Kyogo has been outstanding for us this season. He was really good last season as well but now it feels like he is only getting better and better. He is working so hard as well. We are happy to see him get his rewards in terms of the goals because he also works extremely hard defensively. He is a really good player and I have no doubt he will keep scoring goals.”

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The doubts come over whether he will be doing so in Celtic colours next season. Recently linked with a move to Crystal Palace - as, indeed, has Starfelt himself previously - the Swedish defender hardly seems of a mind to set the Celtic support’s mind at ease as they fret over the 28-year-old possibly being enticed away. “Obviously we want to keep all our good players but that is not how reality works,” he said. “We will see, but as long as he is at Celtic we are very happy.”



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