Thierry Henry has announced his retirement from football after a career that spanned 2 decades. The Frenchman started his career at Monaco before moving along and ultimately gaining world-class status at Arsenal. His career saw Thierry Henry feature in 917 professional games and score 411 goals. Throughout his career he won the World Cup, the European Championships, Ligue 1, the Premier League (2), the FA Cup (3), La Liga (2), the Copa del Rey, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup amongst a host of individual awards.
Growing up as an Arsenal supporter I was privileged to watch Thierry showcase his ability on a weekly basis and form part of the Invincibles. Here I pick out ten of my favourite Thierry moments in his time with the Gunners (which was incredibly difficult) and salute the king!
Chip and Volley Goal vs. Manchester United, October 2000
Audacious, a word that can often be used to describe Thierry Henry’s goals for Arsenal. This one was no different. An out-of-form Thierry received a ball from Giles Grimandi with his back to goal and under tight scrutiny from Dennis Irwin. What Henry attempted next would go down in folklore as one of the most memorable Premier League goals. 14 years later I remember exactly where I was when this goal was scored. Henry lifted the ball turned and volleyed it over Barthez and gave Arsenal the win.
The Tottenham Goal, November 2002
This goal was not only voted goal of the season, but once again underlined Thierry’s absolute brilliance and devastating ability. The goal was more memorable for the celebration though as Henry ran half a field to slide on his knees in the direction of the Spurs supporters. The picture of Henry’s celebration was so iconic that it was the mould that Arsenal chose when making their statue of Thierry.
Arsenal had been dumped out of the Champions League and FA Cup and headed into half-time 2-1 down on the brink of losing their undefeated season. Instead Thierry took the game by its horns and inspired a turnaround of immense brilliance as he notched another Arsenal hat-trick. The best of the bunch being the goal where he turned Jamie Carragher inside out and slalomed through the Pool defence before sliding it past Dudek. This win would ultimately shape Arsenal’s run-in and march to the title.
The dismantling of Roma, November 2002
Thierry loved playing Champions League football in Italy as he was part of the young Guns that dismantled Inter 5-1 at the San Siro, but it was his hat-trick in Rome that really tops the list. After trailing 1-0 to Cassano’s goal Thierry almost singlehandedly turned the game on its head including scoring a scintillating free kick. The hat-trick must arguably be Arsenal’s greatest ever European hat-trick.
The Leeds comeback goal, January 2012
Fairytales do come true and January 2012 was one of those moments. Henry back at Arsenal on loan from NY Red Bulls, is named on the bench for the FA Cup game vs. Leeds. Goalless in the second half Henry was brought on in place of Chamakh and after ten minutes got his chance, a chance which he curled in with typical Henry finish. It was sexy, it was storybook worthy and it was a winner. True Story.
The last-minute header vs. Manchester United, January 2007
In the first season after the move from Highbury, the Gunners had struggled for consistency and were seen as definite underdogs as Manchester United traveled to the Emirates. Arsenal trailed early and with minutes left to play were pulled level by Robin van Persie. But in his final season with Arsenal, the King would leave Gooners with one outstanding final memory as an injury time cross by Eboue was converted with a bullet header from Henry to send the Emirates into its greatest celebration in its short history so far. Arsenal had won thanks to a Thierry Henry winner, all was right in the world.
The back-heel goal against Charlton, October 2004
Cheeky, audacious and brilliant. Henry received the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the six-yard box and, while showing great strength to hold off Charlton Athletic defender Jonathan Fortune, Henry controlled the ball and then backheel nut-megged the centre half. The ball went past the keeper and into the far corner. True Thierry.
The final hat-trick at Higbury, May 2006
Needing a win at the final game ever at Highbury before the move to Emirates Stadium in order to achieve qualification for Champions League Football, Arsenal had actually trailed 2-1 to Wigan before Henry got on the scoresheet. He latched onto a Pires pass to level things before putting Arsenal ahead early in the second half after seizing upon a back-pass. But Henry saved the really special moment for his hat-trick goal from the penalty spot. After stroking the ball home for his 137th goal at Highbury, Henry dropped to his knees and kissed the turf. “That was the perfect send-off,” he said afterwards. “When I kissed the ground after my third, I was saying goodbye to this stadium.”
The first Henry goal vs. Southampton, September 1999
With eleven minutes left on the clock, Adams played a ball into Henry’s feet on the edge of the penalty area. With his back to goal, he held off a defender before nudging the ball to his left. For a moment it appeared that he had pushed it too far, but in one fluid movement he stretched and unleashed a whipped shot that flew past the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand and into the net. This was Thierry’s first goal for Arsenal, 227 more would follow.
What are your favourite Theirry moments, share them with us?