Some players have done enough for their clubs and football to ensure they will never be forgotten by the fans—Thierry Henry has done more than that.
Arsenal’s top goal-scorer has branded the club not only with his goals but with his attitude on and off the field.
A true gentleman, Henry created a bond with the fans that was cherished, and still is, from both sides.
His Arsenal love story began when he joined the club to reunite with his former manager from Monaco Arsene Wenger, at the age of 22. Having showed glimpses of flair at Monaco and gone through tribulations of playing for Juventus in Italy, Henry found in his new club a paradise for development.
Not long after his arrival to Highbury, Henry began to be recognized as one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League.
On the green meadow, he was the player that teammates could pass the ball to and watch the magic unfold before their eyes. It was obvious he possessed that extra bit of talent that made him stand out from all the others. You just knew you were witnessing true class with him.
While his football abilities bedazzled, he also possessed that much needed ingredient for achieving greatness—character.
He had a funny side to him. He would often joke around with his team-mates and in interviews, which he seldom refused to give. But he knew when to be serious too. His communicativeness undoubtedly raised his influence, and after Patrick Vieira left for Juventus, he was the natural choice for the captain armband.
Most of all, his conviction to help Arsenal achieve greatness was unwavering. It’s what separated him from many others. In a world of constant changes, it was hard to believe a player of such quality could place his loyalty in a club that was still growing.
He wanted to see the club perform well and win trophies, and did everything in his power to help it achieve that.
And he did help, quite enormously. He won five trophies while playing at the mythical Highbury – twice the Premier League and three FA cups. In 2006, Henry played a major role in Arsenal reaching the final of the Champions League, but his desire to triumph met a formidable obstacle called Barcelona.
By that time, Henry had won everything with Arsenal, but the Champions League, the only trophy he had not, slipped through his fingers on that day. Ironically, he later snatched it with the very team that denied him the trophy in 2006 – Barcelona.
By all means, he deserved it. His breath-taking skill beguiled and demanded recognition. It came in the form of every type of trophy there is— French League title, English League title, FA Cup, La Liga title, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Supercup, FIFA World Cup (club and international), FIFA European Football Championship, even the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Thierry Henry was bound to claim the status of a legendary player, especially in North London, where he gave the best years of his career and where he was appreciated for the great player and man he is. He became the club’s all-time top goal-scorer, surpassing Ian Wright, with an amazing 226 goals.
Such achievement alone could grant him his place in the history of the club, but he walked that extra mile by showing his humane side. A legendary player comes once in a while in football. Arsenal was very lucky to have one that they could call their own—Thierry Henry.
A tiny fact: Thierry Henry has never won the FIFAWorld Player of the Year award…