Arsenal paid a fitting tribute to Thierry Henry, as did a number of his soon-to-be new colleagues, after the former Gunners striker announced his retirement from football on Tuesday morning.
The 37-year-old confirmed he will return to London to take up a role in the media with Sky Sports “as a football expert and ambassador” from the start of 2015.
Henry will always be most closely associated with Arsenal, where he is the all-time highest goalscorer with 228 goals in 377 games across two different spells. His time at the club included winning the Premier League title twice with the Gunners, as well as the FA Cup three times.
Arsenal paid tribute to Henry with a link on the home page of their website www.arsenal.com with a 45-page gallery highlighting his incredible career with the Barclays Premier League club, entitled “Pictures: Thierry Henry’s best moments”.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who had known him as a young player at Monaco, signed him from Juventus for £11m in 1999, and immediately shifted him from the wing to a central striking position.
Henry left Arsenal in 2007 and joined Barcelona, where he won the Champions League in 2009. He also added two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey, Spanish Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to his honours list in three seasons at the Nou Camp.
His blend of pace and power made him one of the most feared forwards in English football, and former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher, who came up against the fearless forward on numerous occasions during his career, admitted life against Henry was tough.
“Defenders everywhere will be breathing a sigh of relief that he has hung his boots up,” Carragher, whom Henry will join as a Sky Sports pundit, said.
“He was certainly the toughest opponent I ever faced and possibly the best player the Premier League has seen.
“I would have loved him to be on the same team as me during my playing career, I’m delighted we’re finally on the same side.”
Henry spent the final five years of his playing career with the New York Red Bulls, returning to Arsenal to make four appearances on loan in early 2012. Henry left the Red Bulls at the start of the month after they were knocked out of the MLS play-offs.
Another player he came up against whilst in England on the field, who he will also work alongside in his new career, is another ex-rival in former Manchester United captain Gary Neville.
The former defender praised Henry for his outstanding playing career and admitted he is looking forward to working with the Frenchman.
He said: “We were blessed in this country to see Thierry playing at his peak, potentially one of the greatest players in the world and even if you supported another team you couldn’t help but enjoy watching him play.
“It’s always a shame when such a career comes to an end, but it’s very much Sky Sports’ gain and I look forward to working with him.”
Former Reds midfielder Jamie Redknapp, who played at north London rivals Tottenham while Henry was at the Gunners, said: “I know from playing against Thierry how good a player he was and Sky Sports viewers are in for a treat.
“His game was built around incredible pace, power and finishing, not to mention the ability to read the game better than most. His views will be fascinating and I can’t wait to work alongside him.”