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Thierry Henry

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Thierry Daniel Henry (French pronunciation: [tjɛʁi ɑ̃ʁi]; born 17 August 1977) is a French professional footballer who plays for the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer.

Henry was born in Les Ulis, Essonne (a suburb of Paris) where he played for an array of local sides as a youngster and showed great promise as a goal-scorer. He was spotted by AS Monaco in 1990 and signed instantly, making his professional debut in 1994. Good form led to an international call-up in 1998, after which he signed for the Serie A defending champions Juventus. He had a disappointing season playing on the wing, before joining Arsenal for £10.5 million in 1999.

It was at Arsenal that Henry made his name as a world-class footballer. Despite initially struggling in the Premier League, he emerged as Arsenal's top goal-scorer for almost every season of his tenure there. Under long-time mentor and coach Arsène Wenger, Henry became a prolific striker and Arsenal's all-time leading scorer with 226 goals in all competitions.

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The Frenchman won two league titles and three FA Cups with the Gunners; he was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year twice, was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year twice, and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year three times. Henry spent his final two seasons with Arsenal as club captain, leading them to the UEFA Champions League final in 2006. In June 2007, after eight years with Arsenal, he transferred to Barcelona for a fee of €24 million. His first honours with the Catalan club came in 2009 when they won the league, cup and Champions League treble. He went on to achieve an unprecedented sextuple by also winning the Spanish Supercup, the UEFA Supercup and the Club World Cup. In total, Henry has been named in the UEFA Team of the Year five times. In 2010, he joined New York Red Bulls.

Henry enjoyed similar success with the French national team, having won the 1998 World Cup, Euro 2000 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. In October 2007, he surpassed Michel Platini's record to become France's top goal-scorer of all time. Henry retired from international football after the 2010 World Cup. Off the pitch, Henry is an active spokesperson against racism in football, partially due to his own experiences. He married English model Nicole Merry in 2003 and had a daughter with her, but they divorced in 2007. Henry was also one of the top commercially marketed footballers; he was ranked ninth in the world in 2006.

Early years

Henry is of Antillean heritage:[2] his father, Antoine, is from Guadeloupe (La Désirade island), and his mother, Maryse, is from Martinique. He was born and raised in Les Ulis suburb of Paris which, despite sometimes being seen as a tough neighbourhood, provided good footballing facilities.[3][4] As a seven-year-old, Henry showed great potential, prompting Claude Chezelle to recruit him to the local club CO Les Ulis. His father pressured him to attend training, although the youngster was not particularly drawn to football.[5] He joined US Palaiseau in 1989, but after a year his father fell out with the club, so Henry moved to ES Viry-Châtillon and played there for two years.[2] US Palaiseau coach Jean-Marie Panza, Henry's future mentor, followed him there.[3]

Club career

Monaco (1992–1999) and Juventus (1999)

In 1990, Monaco sent scout Arnold Catalano to watch Henry in a match. Henry scored all six goals as his side won 6–0. Catalano asked him to join Monaco without even attending a trial first. Catalano requested that Henry complete a course at the elite Clairefontaine academy, and despite the director's reluctance to admit Henry due to his poor school results, he was allowed to complete the course and joined Arsène Wenger's Monaco as a youth player.[5] Subsequently, Henry signed professional forms with Monaco and made his professional debut in 1994. Wenger put Henry on the left wing because he believed that his pace, natural ball control and skill would be more effective against full-backs than centre-backs. In his first season with Monaco, Henry scored three goals in 18 appearances.[2]

Thierry Henry, playing for Arsenal against Everton at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger continued to search for the perfect playing position for Henry, and suspected that he should be deployed as a striker instead, but he was unsure.[2] Under the tutelage of his manager, Henry was named the French Young Footballer of the Year in 1996, and in the 1996–97 season, his solid performances helped the club win the Ligue 1 title.[5][6]

During the 1997–98 season, he was instrumental in leading his club to the UEFA Champions League semi-final, setting a French record by scoring seven goals in the competition.[2][7] By his third season, he had received his first cap for the national team, and was part of the winning team in the 1998 World Cup.[2] He continued to impress at his tenure with Monaco, and in his five seasons with the French club, the young winger scored 20 league goals in 105 appearances.[6]

Henry left Monaco in January 1999, one year before his friend and teammate David Trézéguet, and moved to Italian Serie A club Juventus for £10.5 million.[5] He played on the wing,[8] but he was ineffective against the Serie A defensive discipline in a position uncharacteristic for him, and scored just three goals in 16 appearances.[9]

Arsenal (1999–2007)

 

Unsettled in Italy, Henry transferred from Juventus in August 1999 to Arsenal for £10 million, reuniting with his former manager Arsène Wenger.[10] It was at Arsenal that Henry made his name as a world-class footballer,[11] and although his transfer was not without controversy, Wenger was convinced he was worth the transfer fee.[2] Brought in as a replacement for fellow French forward Nicolas Anelka, Henry was immediately moulded into a striker by Wenger, a move that would pay rich dividends in years to come.

However, doubts were raised about his ability to adapt to the quick and physical English game when he failed to score in his first eight games.[3] After several difficult months in England, Henry even conceded that he had to "be re-taught everything about the art of striking."[3] These doubts were dispelled when he ended his first season at Arsenal with an impressive goal tally of 26.[12] Arsenal finished second in the league behind Manchester United, and lost in the UEFA Cup final against Turkish side Galatasaray.[2]

Coming off the back of a victorious Euro 2000 campaign with the national team, Henry was ready to make an impact in the 2000–01 season. Despite recording fewer goals and assists than his first season, Henry's second season with Arsenal proved to be a breakthrough, as he became the club's top goal-scorer.[10] Armed with one of the league's best attacks, Arsenal closed in quickly on perennial rivals Manchester United for the league title. Henry remained frustrated however by the fact that he had yet to help the club win honours, and frequently expressed his desire to establish Arsenal as a powerhouse.[2]

Success finally arrived during the 2001–02 season. Arsenal finished seven points above Liverpool to win the league title, and defeated Chelsea 2–0 in the FA Cup Final.[2] Henry became the league's top goal-scorer and netted 42 goals in all competitions as he led Arsenal to a double and his first silverware with the club.[5][10] There was much expectation that Henry would replicate his club form for France during the 2002 World Cup, but the defending champions suffered a shock exit at the group stage.[2]

2002–03 proved to be another productive season for Henry, as he scored 32 goals in all competitions while contributing 23 assists—remarkable returns for a striker.[10] In doing so, he led Arsenal to another FA Cup triumph, although Arsenal failed to retain their Premier League crown.[13]

Throughout the season, he competed with Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy for the league scoring title, but the latter edged Henry to the title by a goal.[2] Nonetheless, Henry was named both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year.[14][15] His rising status as one of the world's best footballers was affirmed when he emerged runner-up for the 2003 FIFA World Player of the Year award.[11]

Entering the 2003–04 season, Arsenal were determined to reclaim the Premier League crown. Henry was again instrumental in Arsenal's exceptionally successful campaign; together with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pirès, Henry ensured that the Gunners became the first team in more than a century to go through the entire domestic league season unbeaten, claiming the league title in the process.[16]

Apart from being named for the second year running as the PFA Players' Player of the Year and Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year,[14][15] Henry emerged once again as the runner-up for 2004 FIFA World Player of the Year award.[11] With 39 goals scored in all competitions, the Frenchman led the league in goals scored and won the European Golden Boot.[5][17] However, as was the case in 2002, Henry was unable to lead the national side to honours during Euro 2004.[2]

This dip in success was compounded when Arsenal failed again to secure back-to-back league titles when they lost out to Chelsea in the 2004–05 season, although Arsenal did win the FA Cup (the final of which Henry missed through injury).[6] Henry maintained his reputation as one of Europe's most feared strikers as he led the league in scoring,[5] and with 31 goals in all competitions,[18] he was the co-recipient (with Diego Forlán) of the European Golden Boot, and is currently the only player to have officially won the award twice in a row (Ally McCoist also had two Golden Boots in a row, but both were deemed unofficial).[17]

The unexpected departure of compatriot Vieira in mid-2005 led to Henry being awarded club captaincy, a role which many felt was not naturally suited for him; the captaincy is more commonly given to defenders or midfielders, who are better-placed on the pitch to read the game.[5] Along with being chief goal-scorer, he was responsible for leading a very young team which had yet to jell fully.[19]

The 2005–06 season proved to be one of remarkable personal achievements for Henry. On 17 October 2005, Henry became the club's top goal-scorer of all time;[20] two goals against Sparta Prague in the Champions League meant he broke Ian Wright's record of 185 goals.[21]

On 1 February 2006, he scored a goal against West Ham, bringing his league goal tally up to 151, breaking Arsenal legend Cliff Bastin's league goals record.[22] Henry scored his 100th league goal at Highbury, a feat unparalleled in the history of the club, and a unique achievement in the Premier League.[23] He completed the season as the league's top goal-scorer,[5] and for the third time in his career, he was voted the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year.[6]

Nevertheless, Arsenal failed to win the league title again, but hopes of a trophy were revived when Arsenal reached the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final. The Gunners eventually lost 2–1 to Barcelona, and Arsenal's inability to win the Premier League for two consecutive seasons combined with the relative inexperience of the Arsenal squad caused much speculation that Henry would leave for another club.

However, he declared his love for the club and accepted a four-year contract,[15] and said he would stay at Arsenal for life.[24] Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein later claimed the club had turned down two bids of £50 million from Spanish clubs for Henry before the signing of the new contract.[25] Had the transfer materialized, it would have surpassed the then world record £47 million paid for Zinédine Zidane.[25]

Henry's 2006–07 season was marred by injuries.[26] Although he scored 10 goals in 17 domestic appearances for Arsenal, Henry's season was cut short in February. Having missed games due to hamstring, foot, and back problems, he was deemed fit enough to come on as a late substitute against PSV in a Champions League match,[27] but began limping shortly after coming on. Scans the next day revealed that he would need at least three months to heal from new groin and stomach injuries, missing the rest of the 2006–07 season.[28] Wenger attributed Henry's injuries to a protracted 2005–06 campaign, and reiterated that Henry was keen on staying with the Gunners to rebuild for the 2007–08 season.[26]

Barcelona (2007–2010)

On 25 June 2007, in an unexpected turn of events, Henry was transferred to Barcelona for €24 million. He signed a four-year deal for a reported €6.8 (£4.6) million per season.[29] It was revealed that the contract included a release clause of €125 (£84.9) million.[30] Henry cited the departure of Dein and continued uncertainty over Wenger's future as reasons for leaving,[31][32] and maintained that "I always said that if I ever left Arsenal it would be to play for Barcelona."[33] Despite their captain's departure, Arsenal got off to an impressive start for the 2007–08 campaign, and Henry admitted that his presence in the team might have been more of a hindrance than a help.

He stated: "Because of my seniority, the fact that I was captain and my habit of screaming for the ball, they would sometimes give it to me even when I was not in the best position. So in that sense it was good for the team that I moved on."[34] Henry left Arsenal as the club's leading all-time league goal-scorer with 174 goals and leading all-time goal-scorer in Europe with 42 goals;[5] in July 2008, Arsenal fans voted him as Arsenal's greatest player ever in Arsenal.com's Gunners' Greatest 50 Players poll.[35]

At Barcelona, Henry was given the number 14 jersey, the same as he had worn at Arsenal. He scored his first goal for his new club on 19 September 2007 in a 3–0 Champions League group stage win over Lyon,[36] and he recorded his first hat-trick for Barça in a league match against Levante ten days later.[37] But with Henry mostly deployed on the wing throughout the season, he was unable to reproduce the goal-scoring form he achieved with Arsenal.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the move to Barcelona in the initial year, amidst widespread speculation of a return to the Premier League. In an interview with Garth Crooks on BBC Football Focus, Henry described missing life "back home" and even "the English press".[38] However, Henry concluded his debut season as the club's top scorer with 19 goals in addition to nine league assists, second behind Lionel Messi's ten.

Henry went on to surpass this tally in a more integrated 2008–09 campaign, winning the first trophy of his Barcelona career on 13 May 2009 when Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final. Barcelona won the league and Champions League soon after, completing a treble for the Frenchman, who had combined with Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o to score 100 goals between them that season.

The trio was also the most prolific trio in Spanish league history, scoring 72 goals and surpassing the 66 goals of Real Madrid's Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano and Luis del Sol of the 1960–61 season. Later in 2009, Henry helped Barcelona win an unprecedented sextuple, consisting of the aforementioned treble, the Spanish Supercup, the UEFA Supercup and the FIFA Club World Cup.[39]

The following season, the emergence of Pedro Rodríguez meant that Henry only started 15 league games.[10] Before the La Liga season ended, and with a year still left on his contract, club president Joan Laporta stated on 5 May 2010 that Henry "may go away in the summer transfer window if that's what he wants".[40] After Henry returned from the World Cup, Barcelona confirmed that they had agreed to the sale of Henry to an unnamed club, with the player still to agree terms with the new club.[41]

New York Red Bulls (2010–present)

In July 2010, Henry signed a multi-year contract with Major League Soccer (MLS) club New York Red Bulls, as its second designated player.[42] He made his full MLS debut on 31 July in a 2–2 draw against Houston, assisting both goals to Juan Pablo Angel. His first MLS goal came on 28 August in a 2–0 victory against San Jose. Henry was fined $2,000 by MLS after being found guilty of reckless play after injuring Kevin Hartman while celebrating a goal during a game against FC Dallas on 16 September 2010.[43]

International career

Henry has had a successful career with the France national team. His international career began in June 1997, when his good form for Monaco was rewarded with a call-up to the Under-20 French national team, where he played in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship alongside future teammates William Gallas and David Trézéguet.[5] Within four months, France head coach Aimé Jacquet called Henry up to the senior team. The 20-year-old made his senior international debut on 11 October 1997 in a 2–1 win against South Africa.[44]

Jacquet was so impressed with Henry that he took him to the 1998 World Cup. Although Henry was a largely unknown quantity at international level, he ended the tournament as France's top scorer with three goals.[45] He was scheduled to appear as a substitute in the final, where France beat Brazil 3–0, but Marcel Desailly's sending off forced a defensive change instead. In 1998, he was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur, France's highest decoration.[46]

Henry was a member of France's Euro 2000 championship squad, again scoring three goals in the tournament, including the equalizer against Portugal in the semi-final, and finishing as the country's top scorer.[47] France later won the game in extra time following a converted penalty kick by Zinédine Zidane. France went on to defeat Italy in extra time in the final, earning Henry his second major international medal.[48] During the tournament, Henry was voted man-of-the-match in three games, including the final against Italy.[49]

The 2002 FIFA World Cup featured a stunning early exit for both Henry and France as the defending champions were eliminated in the group stage after failing to score a goal in all three games.[5] France lost their first match in group play and Henry was red carded for a dangerous sliding challenge in their next match against Uruguay.[2] In that game, France played to a 0–0 draw, but Henry was forced to miss the final match due to suspension; France lost 2–0 to Denmark.[2]

Henry returned to form for his country at the 2003 Confederations Cup. Despite playing without team stalwarts Zidane and Patrick Vieira, France won, in large part owing to Henry's outstanding play, for which he was named Man of the Match by FIFA's Technical Study Group in three of France's five matches.[5]

In the final, he scored the golden goal in extra time to lift the title for the host country after a 1–0 victory over Cameroon.[5] Henry was awarded both the adidas Golden Ball as the outstanding player of the competition and the adidas Golden Shoe as the tournament's top goal-scorer with four goals.[5]

In Euro 2004, Henry played in all of France's matches and scored two goals.[6] France beat England in the group stages but lost to the eventual winners Greece 1–0 in the quarter-finals.[50] During the 2006 FIFA World Cup Henry remained as one of the automatic starters in the squad. He played as a lone striker, but despite an indifferent start to the tournament, became one of the top players of the World Cup.

He scored three goals, including the winning goal from Zidane's free kick against defending champions Brazil.[5] However, France subsequently lost to Italy on penalties (5–3) in the final. Henry did not take part in the penalty shootout, having been substituted in extra time after his legs had cramped.[51] Henry was one of 10 nominees for the Golden Ball award for Player of the Tournament, an award which was ultimately presented to his teammate, Zidane[52] and was named a starting striker on the 2006 FIFPro World XI team.[53]

On 13 October 2007, Henry scored his 41st goal against the Faroe Islands, joining Michel Platini as the country's top goal-scorer of all time.[34] Four days later at the Stade de la Beaujoire, he scored a late double against Lithuania, thereby setting a new record as France's top goal-scorer.[54] On 3 June 2008, Henry made his 100th appearance for national team in match against Colombia, becoming the sixth French player ever to reach that milestone.[55]

Henry missed the opening game of France's short-lived Euro 2008 campaign, where they were eliminated in the group stages after being grouped together with Italy, the Netherlands and Romania.[56] He scored France's only goal in the competition in a 4–1 loss to the Netherlands.[57]

The French team struggled during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers and finished second in their group behind Serbia. During the playoffs against Ireland, Henry was involved in a controversy in the second leg of the game at the Stade de France on 18 November 2009. With the aggregate score tied at 1–1 and the game in extra time, he used his hand twice to control the ball before delivering a cross to William Gallas who scored the winner.[58] This sparked a barrage of criticism against the Frenchman, while national team coach Raymond Domenech and Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger defended him.[59][60] The Football Association of Ireland lodged a formal complaint with FIFA, seeking a replay of the game, which FIFA declined.[61] Henry said that he contemplated retiring from international football after the reactions to the incident,[62] but maintained that he was not a "cheat"; hours after FIFA had ruled out a replay, he stated that "the fairest solution would be to replay the game".[63] FIFA President Sepp Blatter described the incident as "blatant unfair play" and announced an inquiry into how such incidents could be avoided in future, and added that the incident would be investigated by the Disciplinary Committee.[64] Blatter also said Henry told him that his family had been threatened in the aftermath of the incident.[65] In January 2010, FIFA announced that there was no legal basis to sanction Henry.[66]

Henry did not feature in the starting line-up for France at the 2010 World Cup. France drew in their first game against Uruguay, and lost 2–0 in their second against Mexico. The team was thrown into disarray when Nicolas Anelka was expelled from the team, and captain Patrice Evra led a team protest by refusing to train.[67] In the final group game against host-nation South Africa in which Henry came on as a second-half substitute, France lost 2–1 and were eliminated from the tournament. He then announced his retirement from international football, having won 123 caps and scored 51 goals for Les Bleus.[68]

Style of play

Although Henry played up front as a striker during his youth,[3] he spent his time at Monaco and Juventus playing on the wing. When Henry joined Arsenal in 1999, Wenger immediately changed this, switching Henry to his childhood position, often pairing him with Dutch veteran Dennis Bergkamp.[8] During the 2004–05 season, Wenger switched Arsenal's formation to 4-5-1.[69] This change forced Henry to adapt again to fit into the Arsenal team, and he played many games as a lone striker.[8] Still, Henry remained Arsenal's main offensive threat, on many occasions conjuring spectacular goals. Wenger once said of his fellow Frenchman: "Thierry Henry could take ball in the middle of park and score a goal that no one else in the world could score".[70]

One of the reasons cited for Henry's impressive play up front is his ability to calmly score from one-on-ones.[71] This, combined with his exceptional pace, means that he can get in behind defenders regularly enough to score.[3][72] When up front, Henry is occasionally known to move out wide to the left wing position,[73][74] something which enables him to contribute heavily in assists: between 2002–03 and 2004–05, the striker managed almost 50 assists in total and this was attributed to his unselfish play and creativity.[20] Henry would also drift offside to fool the defence then run back onside before the ball is played and beat the offside trap,[75] although he never provided Arsenal a distinct aerial threat.[75] Given his versatility in being able to operate as both a winger and a striker, the Frenchman is not a prototypical "out-and-out striker", but he has emerged consistently as one of Europe's most prolific strikers.[2] In set pieces, Henry was the first-choice penalty and free kick taker for Arsenal, having scored regularly from those positions.[76]

Awards and honours

Henry has received many plaudits and awards in his football career. He was runner-up for the 2003 and 2004 FIFA World Player of the Year award;[11] in those two seasons, he also won back-to-back PFA Players' Player of the Year titles.[14] Henry is the only player ever to have won the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year three times (2003, 2004, 2006),[15] and the French Player of the Year on a record four occasions. Henry was voted into the Premier League Overseas Team of the Decade in the 10 Seasons Awards poll in 2003,[77] and in 2004 he was named by football legend Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers.[78]

In terms of goal-scoring awards, Henry was the European Golden Boot winner in 2004 and 2005 (sharing it with Villarreal's Diego Forlán in 2005) and is the first ever player to retain the award.[17] Henry was also the top goal-scorer in the Premier League for a record four seasons (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006).[5] In 2006, he became the first player to score more than 20 goals in the league for five consecutive seasons (2002 to 2006).[79] Henry is currently third in the list of all-time Premier League goal-scorers, behind Alan Shearer and Andy Cole. Given his accomplishments, France's all-time goal-scorer was in his prime regarded by many coaches, footballers and pundits as one of the best footballers in the world.[10][80][81][82] In November 2007, he was ranked 33rd on the Association of Football Statisticians' compendium for "Greatest Ever Footballers".[83] Arsenal fans honoured their former player in 2008, declaring Henry the greatest Arsenal player.[35] In another 2008 survey, Henry emerged as the favourite Premier League player of all time among 32,000 people surveyed in the Barclays 2008 Global Fan Report.[84]

Monaco

  • Ligue 1: 1996–97
  • French Super Cup: 1997

Arsenal

  • FA Premier League: 2001–02, 2003–04
  • FA Cup: 2002, 2003, 2005
  • FA Community Shield: 2002, 2004

Barcelona

  • La Liga: 2008–09, 2009–10
  • Copa del Rey: 2008–09
  • Supercopa de España: 2009
  • UEFA Champions League: 2008–09
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2009
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2009

International

  • FIFA World Cup: 1998
    • Runner-up: 2006
  • UEFA European Football Championship: 2000
  • FIFA Confederations Cup: 2003

Individual

  • UEFA Football Championship Team of the Tournament: 2000
  • Confederations Cup top goalscorer: 2003
  • Confederations Cup Golden Ball: 2003
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2006
  • Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year: 1996–97
  • PFA Players' Player of the Year: 2002–03, 2003–04
  • European Golden Boot: 2004, 2005
  • Premier League Golden Boot: 2001–02, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06.
  • Onze d'Or: 2003, 2006
  • PFA Team of the Year: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  • FWA Footballer Of The Year: 2002–03, 2003–04, 2005–06
  • World XI Striker: 2006
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006
  • French Player of the Year: 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  • English Football Hall of Fame: 2008
  • Goal of the Season (UK): 2003
  • Barclays Player of the Month: April 2000, September 2002, January 2004, April 2004
  • FIFA 100
  • Time 100: 2007
  • Overseas Team of the Decade: Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992–93 to 2001–02)

Orders

  • Légion d'Honneur: 1998

Outside football

Personal and family life

Henry married English model Nicole Merry, real name Claire, on 5 July 2003.[3] The ceremony was held at Highclere Castle, and on 27 May 2005 the couple celebrated the birth of their first child, Téa.[90] Henry dedicated his first goal since Téa's birth to her by holding his fingers in a "T" shape and kissing them after scoring in a match against Newcastle United.[91] When Henry was still at Arsenal, he also purchased a home in Hampstead, North London.[3] However, shortly after his transfer to Barcelona, it was announced that Henry and his wife would divorce; the decree nisi was granted in September 2007.[92] Their separation concluded in December 2008 when Henry paid Merry a divorce settlement close to her requested sum of £10 million.[93] Henry is now dating Bosnian model Andrea Rajačić.[94]

As a fan of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Henry is often seen with his friend Tony Parker at games when not playing football. Henry stated in an interview that he admires basketball, as it is similar to football in pace and excitement.[95] Having made regular trips to the NBA Finals in the past, he went to watch Parker and the San Antonio Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals;[96] and in the 2001 NBA Finals, he went to Philadelphia to help with French television coverage of the Finals as well as to watch Allen Iverson, whom he named as one of his favourite players.[95]

Social causes

UNICEF

Henry is a member of the UNICEF-FIFA squad, where together with other professional footballers he appeared in a series of TV spots seen by hundreds of millions of fans around the world during the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. In these spots, the players promote football as a game that must be played on behalf of children.[45]

Stand Up Speak Up

Having been subjected to racism in the past, Henry is an active spokesperson against racism in football. The most prominent incident of racism against Henry was during a training session with the Spanish national team in 2004,[97][98] when a Spanish TV crew caught coach Luis Aragonés referring to Henry as "black shit".[91] The incident caused an uproar in the British media, and there were calls for Aragonés to be sacked.[99] Henry and Nike started the Stand Up Speak Up campaign against racism in football as a result of the incident.[100] Subsequently, in 2007, Time featured him as one of the "Heroes & Pioneers" on "The Time 100" list.[101]

Other work

Along with 45 other football players, Henry took part in FIFA's "Live for Love United" in 2002. The single was released in tandem with the 2002 World Cup and its proceeds went towards AIDS research. Henry also supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis Trust.[102]

Endorsements

In 2006, Henry was valued as the ninth most commercially marketable footballer in the world,[103] as well as being the eighth richest Premier League player, with £21 million.[104]

Renault

Henry featured in the Renault Clio advertisements in which he popularised the term va-va-voom, meaning "life" or "passion". His romantic interest in the commercial was his then-girlfriend, later his wife (now divorced), Claire Merry. "Va-va-voom" was subsequently added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.[105]

Nike

In 2004, Henry signed with sportswear giant Nike. In one of the advertisements, Henry pits his wits against football stars such as Claude Makélélé, Edgar Davids and Freddie Ljungberg in locations such as his bedroom and living room. The advertisement was partly inspired by Henry himself, who revealed that he always has a football nearby, even at home.[106] Henry was also featured in Nike's "Secret Tournament" advertisement along with 24 superstar football players including Ljungberg, Ronaldinho, and Francesco Totti. In tandem with the 2006 World Cup, Henry also featured in Nike's Joga Bonito campaign, Portuguese for "beautiful game".[107]

Reebok

Henry's deal with Nike ended after the 2006 World Cup, when he signed a deal with Reebok to appear in their "I Am What I Am" campaign.[108] As part of Reebok Entertainment's "Framed" series, Henry was the star of a half-hour episode that detailed the making of a commercial about Henry directed by Spanish actress Paz Vega.[109]

Gillette

In February 2007, Henry was named as one of the three ambassadors of Gillette's "Champions Program," which purported to feature three of the "best-known, most widely respected and successful athletes competing today" and also showcased Roger Federer and Tiger Woods in a series of television commercials.[17] For reasons of recognition, Derek Jeter appears in Henry's place in the advertisements broadcast in North America.[110] In reaction to the handball controversy following the France-Ireland 2010 World Cup qualifier, Gillette faced a boycott and accusations of doctoring French versions of their Champions poster, but subsequently released a statement backing Henry.[111]

Pepsi

Henry was part of Pepsi's "Dare For More" campaign in 2005, alongside the likes of David Beckham and Ronaldinho.[112] In the 2008 version, Henry appeared in the Pepsi Universe advertisement along with Ljungberg, Beckham, Cesc Fàbregas, Steven Gerrard and Lionel Messi.

References and Notes

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Comments

Yes he is...the best player in  premier league,but i am still sad that he left Arsenal.But Henry...YOU ROOCK
henry he is the best player in Premier League and great arsenal scorer
c-mon!!! its is obvious Theirry Henry is da best.
Arsenal top soccer of all time, and also the premiership top goal scorer of all time.
henry you will are and always will be my football star
i love you henry i am crazy about i love your football style
love u henry because of u i got interested in football u r the best nobody can match ur speed & ur talent
Henry is the greatest all round footballer. Maybe not that spectacular to look at like the trickster Ronaldinho, but more gifted. Why? Because he has got it all! Love you, man.
the best that is all
henry is the great football player in barcelona
Henry IS THE BEST of THE BEST IN THE WORLD
he is my idol he's the best the one of a kind michael jordan of soccer world ...mike
thierry henry is just awesome n no one could ever chase him as the best striker (leaving ronaldo) no not even a single defender n u no im crazy about my favourite player onryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
Thiery Henry his the best better than C.ronaldo no body has henry speed not even C.ronaldo
ever since i have watched football, i have never seen a footballer so sensational and inspirational, amazing and blazing, with sizzling speed and dazzling shots as thierry henry!! He is my football idol. i am yet to see an adequate replacement!!! I love you Thierry Henry with passion!!!
I'm not happy, because he is moved to Barcelona, but never mind. I hope he will play better football than in arsenal
he is simply the best!
When I saw Thierry Henry in the pitch, I always expect good things from him. Not only goals, but his special assists to goal, like what he did to lunjburg. I still look for him to put more goals on the side of the net playing for Arsenal
Henry is my favourite. Had he played during Pele or Maradonas time, he would have been ranked above them. He is not only a genius on the pitch but outside as well. I admire him. The greatest of all times
Thierry Henry <3
aBSOLOUTELY Fantastic the best player to evr play the beautiful game

simply the the best ever

you have more than it takes to be the best foot ball legend. so hang in there and keep it up from alex.

he is fantastic and I admire him a lot let him keep on the good work. I still regard him as the best player in the world

Henry is ready the best, i mean the fastest footballer i have ever seen. The friendliest footballer i have seen. He don't have problem with his opponent

Thierry Henry is truly the best. He is the best goal scorer and the best scorer of goals. Thierry Henry helped his club get to 2 finals (Arsenal, Champions League) (France, World Cup) For me Henry is the best player that ever stepped on the pitch. He the best. Thierry Henry

i love henry from issa sierra leone

he is mint

he is in deed the best and deserves the award long live HEN AND THE GUNNERS.

i thought i was d only person who adored him henry is almost perfect arguably d best

If eto'o has the pace of a car, then Henry must be a TGV. Long live the king of England: Go gunners! Allez les Bleus!

Henry is with no doubt the best football player in the worlds and he knows it, but he doesn't pretend he's better than others, like Drogba does. That's what I like so much about him.

my name is Daniel, l'm very happy to hear about Thierry Henry, H is my best footballer 4 d own world, i always proud of him, i love him so much, him very intelligent ,so good, alot, Thank u very much Thierry Henry God Bless 

i luv henry hes the best ever player when he plays it doesnt look like he puts effort in the game but he does hes just so relaxed and skillful thats why hes the best ever player of all time

Thierry Henry is an absolute LEGEND there will be no other like him for as long as i live and we have him for 4 more years! Come on the GUNNERS!!

henry is an amzin player hes fast and can finish unlike ronaldihno and christiano ronaldo

yo wasup u think miroslav klose is good then wait till u c thierry henry pronounced tee airy onree

The man's a legend! The best player in the world bar none....

is the best footballer i have ever seen. he has got complete technique to play the game of football

is the best football player in the world .

Henry Remains the all time greatest Arsenal Scorer. And he is marvellous.

for your eyes only

 

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Best Footballer in the world

Top Five Players

1. Ronaldo 2. Messi
3. Ronaldinho  4. Pele
5. Gerrard


Vote for the best football player on the planet

stevie gerrard is the best because he can do everything whereas other good players specialise in a few things. Also he works hard and is loyal to club and country.

C.ronaldo is d best footballer

mi jugador es iniesta de espana

I think c ronaldo is the best

ronaldinho he's the master

Christino Ronaldo is the best player of the world. In 47 matches he scored 48 goals in only one year compared to messi who only scored 106 in 159 matches in 6 years. The ballon d'or earned.

my vote is with xavi of barcelona technically he is brilliant. his control vision and touch is first class i hope he wins fifa world player of the year in a week or sos time
Lionel messi is the best playeq in the world by yinkusengine

torres,messi,kaka,cristiono ronaldo,villa and xavi