Thierry Henry Finally Gets CL Medal He Deserves

illya mclellanSenior Analyst IMay 27, 2009

ROME - MAY 27:  Thierry Henry of Barcelona holds the trophy as he celebrates winning the UEFA Champions League Final match between Manchester United and Barcelona at the Stadio Olimpico on May 27, 2009 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

When I awoke at quarter to six this morning I realised that in a technical sense I would be one of the first to see the 2009 Champions league final.

New Zealand is ahead of every time zone on the globe except for some island which I forget the name of because it puts a slight taint on my claim to be one of the first to see the game. But we are ten to twelve hours ahead of Europe which works completely in the favour of the idea that we see the game first.

Back to the lead up to the game there though. I walked through the cool morning streets cutting a solitary figure amidst the calm of the dawn. The few people I saw had no idea why I had a Manchester United scarf on.

The scarf had been a purchase of my fathers for me when we were walking to Old Trafford in 1992 before the Ipswich game where Chris Kiwomya scored for Ipswich to open affairs at the near post from a poorly defended throw in past Peter Schmeichel.

Denis Irwin later scored an unstoppable equaliser which was pure magic from the Irishman.

But back to this mornings game then. Arriving at the bar I was slightly late and walked into Ronaldo hitting a shot wide in what was possibly the ninth minute.

Things seemed promising before I ordered my breakfast and sat down to observe the match. Within minutes I noticed that Barcelona were in control and United were chasing the game. This came as a thunderbolt when Samuel Eto'o got free in the area and smashed a shot beyond the despairing Van Der Sars near post.

Ten minutes gone and one nil would have been the neutrals dream, to either team, but Barcelona were not going to loosen things up for United at all and for United fans the game had few moments of excitement as their team was completely dominated by a polished Barcelona outfit.

A stand out moment for me though was the exuberance of Henry as he celebrated the winner with Messi. The elation told the story as the Frenchman finally got the medal that had eluded him at Arsenal.

Without doubt one of the greatest strikers to play the game he was unlucky not to score himself as Van Der Sar had spread well to spoil his chance.

In terms of football it was an enormously impressing performance from Guardiola's Barca who have in one season gone from a laughing stock to champions of Europe.

Barcelona are in a powerful position now with a young hungry manager and a well balanced side with reasonable longevity throughout. We could well have seen the beginning of a legacy, as Ferguson dreamed of winning his second CL trophy in a row Guardiola could next season well do it.

What? You might say! What an outlandish prediction. But no my friends the side he has is in very good shape age-wise and the replacements eventually needed should fit into the side easily under the seemingly gifted tutelage of Guardiola.

Speaking of outlandish predictions the final panned out as I thought it might many months ago (here is the evidence).

Guardiola has this season shown the faith in Henry that was not quite there last season and Henry has performed excellently to confirm his managers confidence.

Though today his teamates will take the goalscorer's plaudits the French World Cup winners contribution could never be underestimated.

A great player and a true footballing maestro and hero.