Celtic legend Henrik Larsson has introduced a wage cap at current club Helsingborg and claims young players are paid far too much in the modern game.
Larsson scored 174 goals in 221 league games for the Hoops, as well as starring for Barcelona, Manchester United and Feyenoord during a trophy-laden career.
But the Swede started and finished his playing career at Helsingborg, where he now manages.
Despite being a powerhouse in Swedish football, Helsingborg have fallen on tough financial times in recent years and Larsson thinks young players have been paid way over the odds.
With Helsingborg’s blessing, he introduced a salary cap reported to be a modest 40,000 Swedish crowns (£3,159) a month – about half the average wage in the Swedish top flight.
“I won’t comment on the sums, but I will say that it’s not the wages that Helsingborg used to pay in the past,” Larsson told Reuters in an interview.
“I don’t mind players earning money, but it should mean at the same time that the club is doing good.
“If the club is doing good, the club is getting income, then the club can share it with the players. But when the situation is not going according to plan, you have to look at the financial bit and see what you can change.”
He recommended that young Allsvenskan players seeking to emulate his success and that of former Malmo striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic should play to develop their game, rather than their bank account.
“I think that the average wage in Sweden is too high. They won’t be financially independent from the money they earn here.
“They earn good money, but I think there has to be the desire to develop, to go on to a bigger league and earn your money there.”
Helsingborg’s wage cap might have restricted his options a little but Larsson said the chance to work with one of Europe’s great finishers – himself – may have helped attract players.
“It’s always difficult, but there are always players that have the desire to do something with their football,” the 43-year-old said.
“There are players who tend not to look at the money short-term, they have a bigger plan. I haven’t found it that hard to attract good players to the club.”
Among the players at his disposal this season is his 17-year-old son Jordan, who signed for the club several months before his father took over as manager.
“When we’re at the ground he’s a football player like everybody else. Even though he is young I expect him to do what everybody else is doing – I don’t make a difference just because he’s my son,” Larsson smiled.
Having performed the near-miracle of keeping minnows Falkenberg in the Swedish top-flight last year, Larsson is looking forward to being back in his home town.
“Everything is possible in football,” he said, not ruling out the possibility of a title run with his new charges.
“But for us the most important thing is to steady the ship and make progress with the team.”
CREDIT: EUROSPORT, REUTERS INTERVIEW