Thierry Henry called time on a two-decade career yesterday which included two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a World Cup.
The former Arsenal striker, who went on to become the club’s all-time highest goalscorer with 228 goals in 377, was signed from Juventus as a left winger for £11 million in 1999 but under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger he became one of the most feared strikers in the world.
The Frenchman formed a deadly partnership with Dennis Bergkamp and was a key member of the invincibles in 2004.
Despite leaving for Barcelona in 2007, where he won two La Liga titles and the Champions League, he returned to north London in 2012 where he scored the winner against Leeds with practically his first touch.
Henry finished his career in the United States with New York Red Bulls, where he scored 51 goals in 122 appearances.
After leaving New York earlier this month, many believed he would continue playing with some linking him with a third return to the Gunners.
“At one point, it will turn out to be a bad move,” he said. “We all love the first Rocky, but I’m not too sure about the last one.”
Within minutes of the announcement of his retirement #KingHenry was trending on Twitter with Arsenal’s official account posting pictures of his incredible career with the club.
A host of past and current players paid tribute to the star including Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, who he will line up with in his new role as a Sky Sports pundit.
Carragher said: “Defenders everywhere will be breathing a sigh of relief that he has hung his boots up.
“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.”
While Neville highlighted what he brought to England. “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.” With a statue outside Ashburton Grove celebrating his time at the club, a few French players feel it is a shame he was never truly appreciated in his home nation.
Ligue de Football Professionnel president Frederic Thiriez lauded Henry as a “legend,” saying: “The English have made a statue of him but in France he has not always been recognised at his full worth.
“With his extraordinary list of honours and his record of international goals, Thierry Henry will nonetheless remain a legend. He was an exceptional striker. Simply the best.”
Ian Wright, whose record Henry broke at Arsenal, tweeted a photograph of Henry with the message: “The King.”