It’s a bit much to call this a ‘holiday’, I’ll admit. But I quite liked the title so I’m going to stick with it for now …
Growing up, I quickly became obsessed with just how good Thierry Henry was. Back then (as is the case for many youngsters), scoring goals was pretty much the only important thing when it came to watching a football match. And whether he decided to finesse it into the bottom corner or fire it high, he was always deadly in his approach.
Thinking of the Frenchman in this way largely derives from remembering his time at Arsenal as part of that famous Arsene Wenger side. Where he would score goals, set up his peers and lead from the front – all with this unerring level of effortlessness that made him look so darn cool. Then, when Arsenal made that move to the Emirates, it seemed like it was an upgraded stage for Thierry and co. to do what they did best, but then the headline came …
If I was a huge fan of Thierry Henry (and I’m not even an Arsenal supporter), then one can only imagine what the Gunners clan thought of their ‘King’. Even more so the emotional state they would have been in when their saviour decided to uproot his North London haven in search for achieving something he never could with them.
Over time, Arsenal came relatively close to winning the UEFA Champions League, but there was a rising FC Barcelona side on the horizon – the one Arsenal lost to in the 2006 final, no less. Over there, Frank Rijkaard and co were building somewhat a revolution over there … and Thierry Henry was considered a pivotal feature of it.
A far cry from what the great Johan Cruyff was able to form and guide throughout his duplicitous tenure at the club, Thierry Henry was ‘scouted’ by Rijkaard’s henchmen as the person to bring home even more silverware on European and domestic soil against the rising Real Madrid surge that was appearing from their ‘Galactico’ era. Signing off amicably and agreeing a deal between the employers, Thierry packed his bags to set the record straight.
Now you see, due to how good Thierry Henry was, there were only two ways this could have gone for the legendary Frenchman: either he claims the Champions League, improves his legendary status and continues living life as ‘The Thierry Henry’ … or he fails in his goal, shrouds his former career in a cloud of uncertainty and ultimately does not live up to the expectation he set himself of being one of the best strikers of his generation.
Thankfully, things couldn’t have gone better for him over there. Scoring roughly a goal every other appearance for the Blaugrana, that ever-elusive big-eared trophy was his to lift by the summer of 2009. During which point, he became a focal point in Rijkaard’s attack before the club was revolutionised by Pep late on with his ‘tiki take’ style. All the while Thierry himself was ready to move on – with the full knowledge of knowing that he got what he went for, would be remembered forever and would have zero regrets at all. Not a bad choice in the end, I guess!