Dennis Bergkamp paid an emotional tribute to his former Arsenal team-mates and family as he was immortalised with a bronze statue outside the Emirates Stadium — and hopes one day to return to the club.
The Dutchman was honoured with a permanent tribute outside the Clock End, following along from those for other Arsenal legends such as former manager Herbert Chapman, captain Tony Adams and club-record goalscorer Thierry Henry.
Hundreds of Arsenal supporters turned out to welcome the 44-year-old back to London, as long-serving club director Ken Friar marked the official unveiling of the statue.
“All this makes you realise how many good years we had here and how big this club has become over the last 20 years. I was just happy to play a role in that. You all see me as a team player, and there is only one statue of me, but I believe it is part of a whole team that I was involved in which made me shine.
“When you think of that team, it is not only the quality players around you, it is the fantastic manager, the staff around the club.
“I had a very good relationship with the fans. You were very patient with me. In the first six or seven games, a lot of people spoke about that, is he good or not? Can he do it? We had some comments from chairmen of other clubs in London, I won’t mention the name!”
Bergkamp has just started out on his coaching career at Ajax, but said: “I don’t think now is the time to leave that aside and do something else, but in the future I would love to come to this league and this club especially.”<
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