Thierry Henry said yesterday he was "more than proud" to see a statue of himself unveiled outside the Emirates.
Henry, who had to pause his speech by the statue after being overcome by the moment, later described it as his "most emotional time" since he left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2007.
"I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be like this one day, in front of the stadium of the team that I love and that I support," Henry said at the unveiling. And he later admitted that he still watches Arsenal games.
"I'm in pain when Arsenal lose, I can't take it well," he said. "I didn't like it when I was a player and it's worse now – at least when you're a player you can do something about it."
While Henry suggested an interest in managing Arsenal "one day", the current incumbent, Arsène Wenger, warned that the transition from playing to coaching was not simple. "You have to learn the job," he said. "It is like any other job. You need to learn the team, how to handle people."
Regardless of what Henry decides to do after playing, Wenger agreed that he feels rewarded by seeing his former players flourish. "Of course," he said. "There is a special satisfaction if any player I have had is happy, even if he is a movie maker, a painter or manager."
Arsenal, who also unveiled statues of Herbert Chapman and Tony Adams yesterday as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations, host Everton today, in Mikel Arteta's first game against the club he left for Arsenal in August. Wenger yesterday praised his new midfielder. "He has adjusted very well," he said, "and he has the mental level to be at the club."