Thierry Henry: Player Profile

A Look Back At The Career Of A Legend

Personal information 
Full name: Thierry Daniel Henry
Date of birth: 17 August 1977
Age: 37
Place of birth: Les Ulis, Essonne, France
Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position: Striker

Youth career 
1983–1989: CO Les Ulis 
1989–1990: US Palaiseau 
1990–1992: Viry-Chatillon 
1992: Clairefontaine 
1992–1994: Monaco

Senior career 
1994–1999: Monaco 141 Appearances, 20 goals
1999: Juventus 19 Appearances, 3 goals
1999–2007: Arsenal 369 Appearances, 226 goals
2007–2010: Barcelona 121 Appearances, 49 goals 
2010–2014: New York Red Bulls 135 Appearances, 52 goals 
2012 → Arsenal (loan) 7 Appearances, 2 goals

National team 
1997: France U20 5 Appearances, 3 goals 
1997–2010: France 123 Appearances, 51 goals

Thierry Henry's legendary career has reached its official conclusion. The 37-year-old striker—arguably the greatest player to have ever worn the Arsenal shirt—announced his retirement last week Tuesday. Sky Sports have since announced that Henry will join the network in 2015.
Henry, who had previously done the occasional bit of work for Sky Sports, released the following statement on his official Facebook page: “After 20 years in the game I have decided to retire from professional football. It has been an incredible journey and I would like to thank all the fans, team mates and individuals involved with AS Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal FC, FC Barcelona, the New York Red Bulls and of course the French National Team that have made my time in the game so special. It is now time for a different career path and I am pleased to say that I will be returning to London and joining Sky Sports. I will hopefully share some of the insights, observations and experiences I have learnt over the years with you guys. I have had some amazing memories (mostly good!) and a wonderful experience. I hope you have enjoyed watching as much as I have enjoyed taking part. See you on the other side...”

Now 37, Henry’s career will be remembered for the relentless accumulation of goals and trophies, scoring 411 times in 917 games in winning major honours ranging from Champions League, World Cup, European Championship, Premier League and La Liga. Henry's legacy will always have its roots on Arsenal turf. The statue outside Emirates Stadium that acknowledges his legend is unmissable. When Arsenal were deciding which pose to cast Thierry Henry’s statue in—to be located outside the Emirates Stadium—they faced a problem. The French striker had a trademark style, playing the game with the swagger of complete self-assurance, but never a trademark goal. No signature move. But that is what made Henry so great. He was a master of all styles, all goals. Henry’s statue was eventually cast to commemorate the striker’s famous goal against Spurs back in the 2002/03 season—with the Frenchman perched upright on his knees, fists clenched like a boxer. Henry came to define Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal dynasty at its very best. When the North London club was invincible, the striker was the club’s most unbeatable player. At a time when the Gunners are scrambling for legends in a new age, Henry is a true Arsenal—and Premier League—great. The Frenchman did his best work at Arsenal, being the Inventive Invincible in that sumptuous, balanced 2003-2004 side of Arsene Wenger’s. Henry was not simply a great goalscorer in terms of quantity. He was also a scorer of great goals in terms of quality, ranging from magnificent finishes, dribbles, volleys and free-kicks. Henry loved playing, dribbling, running, scoring, and his example suffused countless impressionable young fans with an awareness that the game should be about joy and adventure.

Sadly, Henry will also be associated with a shameful incident in Paris when he handled the ball in creating the decisive goal for William Gallas in the 2010 World Cup qualifying play-off against the Republic of Ireland. “I will be honest, it was a handball,’’ he said immediately afterwards. “But I’m not the ref. I played it, the ref allowed it.” As he left the stadium, Irish fans chanted “cheat, cheat”. It remains a huge stain on an otherwise fabulous CV. Despite that offence against the sporting Irish and assault on the principles of fair play, Henry’s playing career deserves to be celebrated. Raised in Les Ulis suburb of Paris, Henry impressed at Clairefontaine before heading to Monaco, shining under Wenger, dovetailing with David Trezeguet, occasionally playing wide but never a particularly prolific force (28 goals in 141 games).  Juventus came calling, paying £10.5million, but he never enjoyed the more parsimonious (three in 19) service there, was frequently used out wide and was eventually liberated by Wenger. It was Wenger’s utter belief in Henry that helped the striker settle in. It took a few weeks. He struggled early on. At one point, Henry stopped outside the Highbury boardroom, opening up to a few reporters about his frustration. His determination to get things right shone through. Within a short period of time, Henry clicked, helped by Dennis Bergkamp’s passing and being moved centrally by Wenger. And so began the strides towards becoming an Invincible, towards being a club legend. His goals came from every angle, from either foot. There was frustration at Arsenal for him, a defeat in the 2006 Champions League final in Paris but, commendably, he stayed on another season, helping the club settle in their new Emirates home. He won two Premier League titles, three FA Cups, three Footballer of the Years honours, the undying love of the Arsenal faithful and, eventually, a statue of him sliding across the ground, a popular meeting point for fans before games at the Emirates. The Frenchman proved to be the best £11 million Arsene Wenger ever spent, scoring 176 goals in 258 Premier League appearances. He won the Premier League's Golden Boot in 2001/02 and then three years running between 2003 and 2006. Henry was also a key piece in the Gunners' "Invincibles" team of 2003/04—when Arsenal won the league without being beaten. At his best, his speed, power, flair and deft touch made him an unstoppable force. Arsenal sold Henry to Barcelona in 2007 for £16.1 million, which in part signalled a sea change for the Gunners.

In 2009, he was an integral part of Barcelona’s historic treble when they won La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. He went on to achieve an unprecedented sextuple by also winning the Supercopa de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. In total, Henry has been named in the UEFA Team of the Year five times. While Henry did enjoy two-and-a-half successful seasons with Barcelona, he'll always be synonymous with Highbury and those free-flowing, title-winning Arsenal squads. In 2010, he joined the New York Red Bulls of the Major League Soccer. After a short loan return with the Gunners, Henry spent his last five seasons with the New York Red Bulls. The MLS club confirmed on December 1 that he would leave the club, which most assumed was a prelude to his retirement. Although the Red Bulls never managed to win the MLS Cup during Henry's spell, nobody will dispute the impact he made on both New York and MLS as a whole. He scored 51 goals and assisted another 42 in 122 appearances and also served as a great ambassador for the league.

Henry won 123 caps with his national side, scoring 51 times, and retires at 37 years of age a respected figure in the game. His 51 goals are the most in the history of the national team. Between the controversial handball against Ireland in World Cup qualification and France's disastrous 2010 World Cup, his time with France reached a rather ignominious end. However, he had previously helped Les Bleus win the 1998 World Cup on home soil and then the 2000 European Football Championship. And for that, he will always be remembered as a cult hero for his national team.
Henry changed English football. The Frenchman revolutionised the way strikers were thought of in the Premier League. He showed that the position was about more than just sticking away crosses in the six-yard box. Henry brought a certain art to the role of a striker without curtailing his effectiveness.

In retirement, Henry is expected to gravitate toward north London once again, although that may be delayed by his commitment to Sky Sports. Punditry will be Henry's immediate future. He worked with the BBC during the 2014 World Cup coverage, bringing an authoritative voice and nuanced opinions. Football fans will now get to enjoy the legendary Frenchman's insights under the Sky Sports banner, but it would be no surprise if Arsenal were to benefit from his wisdom again in the not-too-distant future.