Thierry Henry thrilled by statue tribute

 

Thierry Henry paid an emotional tribute to Arsenal and his former team-mates after seeing himself immortalised in a bronze statue outside Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

The Gunners record goalscorer was one of three club legends to be honoured as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations, with former manager Herbert Chapman and also captain Tony Adams, who led Arsene Wenger's men to the Double twice, each receiving a similar tribute.

Henry left Arsenal for Barcelona in June 2007, where the Frenchman would go on to lift the Champions League before moving to the Major Soccer League in the United States with New York Red Bulls.

The 34-year-old, however, insists Arsenal will always remain in his heart.

"I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have a statue like this in front of the stadium of the team I love and support," said Henry, who netted 226 goals as the Gunners won two Premier League titles and the FA Cup twice.

"The way the statue is gives the perfect example of the love I have for the club - me kneeling facing the Emirates Stadium and Highbury behind is amazing.

"I also have to thank the fans, you have always been special, and I always try to give my best, I know times it was not enough, but I always give it all out there on the field for you guys and the club.

"It is kind of weird to think of the amount of great players who have played for Arsenal, and for me to be right here, I have to say thanks to all of them, because I would not be able to be right there kneeling in front of this stadium, without them.

"Also, I must give a special thanks to my close friends....."

After taking a few moments to compose himself, Henry added: "I know some of the press used to kill me for not showing emotion - well, there you go, I am showing emotion for the club I love.

"Whatever I do, I do it with my heart, that is the way I am.

"It was not always easy to cope with the pressure of delivering, but from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Arsenal Football Club for giving me this opportunity to be here in front of this club I love - once a Gooner, always a Gooner.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart, but I played with some great players too and it would not have been possible without them."

Gunners boss Wenger had worked with Henry during their time at Monaco, and was instrumental in helping mould the French winger into one of the world's best players following his £11million move from Juventus in the summer of 1999.

Wenger hailed his former captain as the model professional.

"Thierry deserves the honour he gets today, and I am very proud to witness it," the Gunners boss said.

"His sensational career was down simply to Thierry's class. He is a player who had everything you dream of as a manager - physical potential, a technical level, super intelligence and what people also forget for many top level athletes, is he was dedicated to his job, with a very serious life.

"He is simply a model (professional) who won everything you can in our world - Thierry, you were really special."

PA

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea