Larsson was born in Helsingborg, Scania. His father, Francisco Rocha, is from Cape Verde, and his mother, Eva Larsson, is Swedish. His parents, who never married and split up when he was 12, decided that he should take his mother’s surname because they felt it would make it easier for their son to be accepted in Sweden. He credits his father for his love of football. His father gave him a football when he was 16 months old and as a child, he was able to practice with brothers and friends on a large field near his home in Helsingborg. He has said of his school years, “I experienced some racism, because back then it was unusual to have a dark kid at school, I was one of the few.” He watched English football on television and his parents gave him a video of Pelé’s life story, both of which inspired him.