Thierry Henry wrote himself into club history at Arsenal but it was with Barcelona that the elegant forward finally tasted UEFA Champions League glory.
Winner (Barcelona, 2009)
If you don’t remember him …
A 1996 U18 EURO winner for hosts France alongside the likes of Mikaël Silvestre, William Gallas, David Trezeguet and Nicolas Anelka, Henry had actually been given his Monaco debut two years before by Arsène Wenger, who was to swiftly leave the club. In January 1999, following a FIFA World Cup triumph, Henry joined Juventus but it was an unhappy move and that August, Wenger took him to Arsenal.
Once Wenger had moved Henry from the wing to the centre of attack, he began an eight-season spell where he overtook Ian Wright as Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer with 226 goals, including 42 in Europe, claiming two Premier League titles (including the unbeaten 2003/04 season), and reaching the 2006 UEFA Champions League final.
In 2007 Henry joined Barcelona, and having added UEFA EURO 2000 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup glory with France (who who he remains the 51-goal top scorer) to add to that 1998 World Cup triumph, he was to lift the 2009 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to complete the set. From 2010 to 2014, Henry turned out for New York Red Bulls, with a cameo Arsenal return on loan in 2012. Now a TV pundit, having had spells as Belgium assistant and Monaco head coach.
How he made it to 100 appearances
An 18-year-old Henry made his European debut in the UEFA Cup in September 1995 for Monaco against Leeds United. He had to wait until 1 October 1997 for his UEFA Champions League bow, scoring twice in a 4-0 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen for the eventual semi-finalists (Henry totalling seven in that run). Henry’s sole European appearance for Juve was in a 0-0 UEFA Intertoto Cup draw with Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt in July 1999; two months before he came off the bench for Arsenal at Fiorentina in the UEFA Champions League.
In all, Henry notched 35 UEFA Champions League goals in 77 games for Arsenal, even if he fell just short of his and the club’s first title at Stade de France in 2006 against Barcelona. It was with that club that Henry passed 100 appearances in a 5-2 win at Sporting CP in November 2008, and registered his 50th (and last) goal in a 4-0 quarter-final defeat of Bayern München in April 2009.
His best moments
Surpassing Ian Wright’s club-record mark of 185 Arsenal goals with both strikes in a 2-0 win at Sparta Praha on 18 October 2005, the first a wonderful bending effort with the outside of his right boot from distance. A statue of him stands outside Arsenal Stadium to mark his achievement.
Scoring one of the all-time great UEFA Champions League goals in a last-16 meeting with Real Madrid on 21 February 2006. He collected a pass from Cesc Fàbregas and held off defenders before firing past Iker Casillas. Justly included in the poll for the top 60 goals in UEFA’s history.
Arsenal lost the 2006 UEFA Champions League final to Barcelona, with goalkeeper Jens Lehmann sent off after 18 minutes. Henry got closure, though, following his move to the Camp Nou, his side beating his old rivals Manchester United 2-0 in the 2009 decider in Rome.
What others said about him
“It was embarrassing for the defenders. He just scored when he wanted.”
Arsène Wenger, former Arsenal manager
“Thierry Henry is probably technically the most gifted footballer ever to play the beautiful game.”
Zinédine Zidane, former France and Juventus team-mate
“If you look at the whole package, with everything Henry has, I don’t think you can find that anywhere else. You give him the ball in the right place and his acceleration will take him past any defender in the world.”
Dennis Bergkamp, former Arsenal team-mate
“When he hit top gear and ran past you, it was like trying to chase after someone on a motorbike.”
Jamie Carragher, fomer Liverpool defender
“He never seemed to get a sweat on. He could run 100 metres past five players and he wouldn’t even be breathing heavily.”
Paul Scholes, former Manchester United midfielder
“He has the ability to finish a move, as he gets the ball and puts it away. He gives the impression that it is natural. His career, his dribbling, his finishing … It is all fluid and well thought-out.”
Lionel Messi, former Barcelona team-mate
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Champions League 100 club: David Beckham
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