August 3, 1999. A French striker named Thierry Henry and Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger walked into the Highbury press conference to introduce his newest signing in front of the media.
Henry was the second World Cup 1998 striker to arrive at the North London outfit that season. Croatia international Davor Suker was revealed as a new Arsenal signing just the day before.
The Highbury press room faded in grandeur compared to the state-of-the-art media center at the Gunner’s current home ground-the Emirates Stadium.
Thierry Henry married The Fifth Element star Nicole Merry in 2003. The couple welcomed their only child Téa Henry two years later. But the English actress asked for a divorce after Henry left the English capital to join Barcelona in 2007.
The separation procedure concluded in 2008. Henry had to pay almost £10m in settlement money to Nicole.
Thierry Henry Net Worth
|Net Worth 2021||£98m ($135m)|
|Net Worth 2020||£95m ($130m)|
|Net Worth 2019||£86m ($118m)|
|Net Worth 2018||£84m ($115m)|
Thierry Henry Signs For Arsenal
But, that small and simple media room has seen some of the most iconic moments in Arsenal’s 134-year history. From the perspective of a historian, the modesty of the Highbury press conference zone is far more significant.
There was a hint of scepticism among the Arsenal faithful about their new French striker, who was brought in to replace his fellow countryman Nicolas Anelka.
Anelka, who left the club to join Real Madrid, was one of the most league’s most prolific strikers during his time. The question a the time, was Thierry Henry, the ideal candidate for filling his boots?
Off The Pace At Juventus
Henry came off the back of a below-par stint with Serie A giants Juventus, which made the fans even less optimistic about his credentials. He primarily played as a wide player, and the Bianconeri even had him try out at left-back.
The former Monaco man’s Juventus spell lasted not more than half a season, where he found the net only three times wearing the Black and White of the Turin club.
But still, Wenger was convinced he found the right man for the job.
“Thierry is much more of an extrovert than Nicolas was. He is a team player who will work hard for the whole team.
With a good spirit and a good mentality for a young player and he has gained a lot of experience already at international level.
He gives you a lot of options. He can play wide or in the center and makes anything possible when he has the ball.
Thierry has pace, power and great dribbling. I would like to move him into the center, either as the second striker or the main target man.”Arsene Wenger On New Signing Henry
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Amusingly, it was Wenger who persuaded the player to pursue a wide attacking role in the first place. The duo had the opportunity to work together, albeit briefly, at Monaco.
Henry was fresh out of France’s elite football academy INF Clairefontaine and signed a professional contract with Ligue 1 club Monaco.
Wenger was in charge of Les Monégasques when Henry joined the club as a youth player. Identifying the player’s immense potential, Wenger handed Henry his first minutes in top tier football during Monaco’s 2-0 defeat to Nice.
Thierry Henry: Winger
FIFA’s new chief of Global Football Development insisted on Henry playing as a winger, believing his pace and dribbling finesse would be problematic to tackle for opposition fullbacks.
That relationship lasted only 17 days, as Monaco gave Wenger the boot for a dismal start to the club’s 94/95 campaign. But Henry didn’t take long to showcase why his first manager had so much trust in him.
Thierry Henry grabbed the French Footballer of the Year crown in 1996, and helped Monaco win the Ligue 1 title in 1996/97, and spearheaded the club’s remarkable semi-final run in the Champions League the following season.
World Cup 1998
All that success earned him a place in the French World Cup squad in 1998. With a World Cup winner’s medal on his resume, Henry had no lack of suitors in the subsequent transfer market.
Shouldering expectations of astronomical proportions, a 21-year-old Thierry Henry joined Juventus during the winter transfer window of the 1998/99 season.
The club already had David Trezeguet on their roaster, who was one of Henry’s closest colleagues in the France national team setup. The record Scudetto winners were confident that they got their hands on a real gem.
Unfortunately, the £10.5m signings never managed to get along with Italian football. Juventus manager Carlo Ancelotti never considered using the Frenchman as a striker, despite his struggles out wide.
Carlos Ancelotti On Henry
Following a run of uninspiring performances, Ancelotti struck out Henry from his plans. In a 2015 interview, the three-time Champions League winner admitted it was one of the biggest mistakes in his entire managerial career.
Arsène Wenger was closely monitoring Henry’s situation at Juventus. Wenger was well aware of his former mentee’s Italian hassle and wanted to rekindle their partnership at his new club-Arsenal.
Henry was already eager to move on after spending eight tiresome months in Italy. So, when the call came in from London, he didn’t hesitate to say “Yes.”
Before joining Juventus, Henry’s initial plan was for a reunion with Wenger at Arsenal. But, Arsenal didn’t have the financial means at that time to match Juve’s offer.
In the summer of 1999, however, Arsenal had deeper pockets, thanks to a handsome inbound transfer fee of £23m from Real Madrid for Nicolas Anelka. So, the club hierarchy greenlit the £11m deal that made Henry an Arsenal player.
Wenger was in the hunt for a striker, and he believed Henry is fit to play that role. Henry later revealed that Wenger approached him in person before signing him and told him that he should switch to a central role up front.
“We were playing Udinese, they had a good team and he had come to see the game, I don’t know who he came to see.
I didn’t know he was at the stadium in all fairness but (later) I was going back to Paris where I’m from, a suburb of Paris, and he was on the same plane that I was.
We exchanged numbers and he told me ‘I don’t know why you’re playing on the wing’, which at the time I was not actually, I was playing as a wing-back!
He said ‘you are wasting your time, I remember you as a nine. It would be great if we can meet again.’
And the rest is history.”Thierry Henry on Arsene Wenger
Henry did come up through the ranks as a striker, but in senior levels, he predominantly played as a winger. Playing as a frontman was nothing new to him. But going back to the roots wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
Henry was locked out of the striker position for far too long. For years, he had pursued his career as a winger. What used to be his first-choice position, gradually became second-choice, as Henry continued to play more and more minutes out wide.
This transitional scuffle was evident in his first few outings at Arsenal. Henry blanked in his first eight appearances, doing no favour to his already lackluster levels of self-belief.
The British media was showing no mercy to Le Professeur’s summer recruit, with some outlets claiming Henry’s signing to be the biggest transfer howler of the season.
Things Started To Look Up
A visiting Arsenal crowd at St. Mary’s was the first to experience a glimpse of Henry’s mercurial flair. Henry came off the bench in the 72nd minute, and seven minutes later this happened-
Thierry Henry’s first Arsenal goal had all the core components of the best Thierry Henry goals the fans reminisce of to this day.
Tony Adams found Henry lurking outside the box with a through pass. Upon receiving it, he dribbled away from Hugo Almeida, as if he weren’t even there.
And then within a fraction of a second, Henry guided the ball past Southampton custodian Paul Jones with a brilliant curled effort.
Four days after that magnificent 25-yard strike, Henry put on another cameo performance to confirm the spoils in Arsenal’s Champion’s League encounter with AIK Solna.
Thierry Henry Stats (Club Football)
- Matches: 375
- Goals: 228
- Assists: 94
- Matches: 139
- Goals: 28
- Assists: 2
New York Red Bulls
- Matches: 135
- Goals: 52
- Assists: 42
- Matches: 121
- Goals: 49
- Assists: 27
- Matches: 20
- Goals: 3
- Assists: 0
The 22-year-old set up his Croatian counterpart Davor Suker for a goal before finding the target himself, as Arsenal marched on to snatch a 3-1 victory at the Wembley Stadium.
Another seven-match drought followed the Solna game, which added to the piling pressure Henry was already going through. The press was accusing him of wasting chances that Anelka would have put away like a piece of cake.
The ghost of his compatriot continued to hunt Henry, and he knew the only road to exorcism is scoring more goals.
Thierry Henry Age & Height
Thierry Henry is 43 years old. He was born on August 17, 1977.
Thierry Henry is 6’1” (1.88m) tall.
Thierry Henry & Denis Bergkamp
Henry’s breakthrough game came on November 28, 1999. Wenger paired Henry as Denis Bergkamp’s striking partner in a 4-4-2 formation against Derby County at Highbury.
The Frenchman scored a brace to turn the game on its head. Arsenal, once a goal behind, won the match 2-1. The Highbury crowd was standing on their feet to cheer for Henry, as he left the pitch. From that point, there was no looking back for him.
Thiery Henry had 26 goals by his name in all competitions in 47 matches after the 99/00 season concluded.
Even though Arsenal finished second behind Manchester United in the league and lost to Galatasaray in the UEFA Cup final, Henry must have felt a bit relieved.
He finally succeeded in putting the Anelka comparisons to bed and started building his own legacy.
Towards the business end of the 1999/00 season, Henry went on a 10-match scoring streak. In due course, this is the standard Thierry Henry made himself synonymous with during his seven-season stay at Arsenal.
Henry signed off from his Arsenal duties in 2007, scoring 226 goals for the club in 369 appearances.
Legend Status & Records
His 176-goal haul in the Premier League stood as a league record for 13 years. Manchester City ace Sergio Agüero has broken the record for most Premier League goals scored by a foreigner earlier this season.
Henry had an immensely successful time at Barcelona too, having been a part of Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning Barcelona side. But in terms of personal brilliance, he never reached the heights of his Arsenal days.
Before hanging up his boots, Henry played four seasons at the MLS with the New York Red Bulls. He also made a brief comeback to Arsenal as a loanee in 2012. Upon his return, the Emirates crowd welcomed back their legend with a standing ovation.
Henry is also the record goalscorer for France with 51 goals in 123 matches. As remarkable as Henry’s goalscoring numbers are, however, they don’t fully reflect Henry’s quality as a player.
His versatility as an attacker made it a nightmare for defenders to contain him. He was as good of a creator, as he was as a striker. In 2002/03, he registered 20 assists, which, at the time of writing, is still a Premier League record.
If you have read our Premier League Golden Boot article previously, you already know that Thierry Henry is the only player in Premier League history to win the top-goalscorer award four times. But, he didn’t achieve that feat just by being a poacher.
Henry always had an eye for the spectacular. It’s basically impossible to profile his scoring style because he scored almost all types of goals you can think of.
Outmuscling defenders to make a deep run and finish it off without assistance, making a sudden 360 to take the keeper by surprise, curling it in from outside of the box-he did them all!
With his flying speed, gifted vision, and pinpoint precision, Thierry Henry presents the ideal package for an attacking player.
On his peak, the Frenchman has created some wonderful memories for all football fans to relish. He also inspired paradigmatic changes in the overall offensive approach of the game. Thierry Henry is one of the most influential players the Premier League has ever seen.