Thierry Henry opens up on his relationship with ‘father figure’ Arsene Wenger

Thierry Henry is Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer with 228 goals. He joined Arsenal from Juventus in 1999 and won 2 Premier Leagues and 2 FA Cups with the club.

The Frenchman departed for Barcelona in the summer of 2007 and was part of the team that won the treble in Pep Guardiola’s debut season as Barcelona manager in 2009.

He returned to Arsenal on a brief loan in 2012 and scored two crucial goals: the memorable winner in a 1-0 win over Leeds United at the Emirates in the FA Cup and a last minute winner in a league game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. He has won the World Cup and European Championship. He is a true legend of the game. 

Henry joined Arsenal as an inconsistent winger and was moulded into one of the most feared strikers in world football by his compatriot, Arsene Wenger. Wenger’s decision to play him down the middle was one that Henry was initially reluctant about but it proved to be the making of the Arsenal legend. 

Wenger and Henry achieved history at Arsenal and the pinnacle of their success was going undefeated in the 2003/04 season and winning the league. That team is famously referred to as The Invincibles today. 

The two men enjoyed a remarkably close relationship but Henry admits that at times it was fractious. The Montreal Impact manager spoke as part of a campaign in partnership with UEFA and Heineken called ‘A Fresh Perspective with Thierry Henry and Heineken’ and had this to say about his relationship with Le Professeur:

“He was like a father figure for me. So as you can imagine, with your dad, you argue, you scream, he punishes you. Then, I want to show him the same relationship that you have with a dad: it’s complicated at times, sometimes it’s the best, sometimes we’re best friends, sometimes we’re worst enemies and we argue. But that’s what happens when you love someone. Because you care, that’s why you argue.”

“Arsene triggered my brain, and every day, it was something about my brain, about asking myself the right questions. And then you have Pep Guardiola, who tactically triggered my brain.” 

“So those two guys had a massive impact on me, but I cannot, obviously, talk about my career without Arsene, because I think one of the most important things in the world, not only in sport, is to trigger the brain of someone, to stimulate the brain of someone every single day. If not, it’s close to dying, if your brain is not functioning properly.”

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