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France’s Footballing Maestro

Thierry Henry has retired from soccer.

In an unsurprising move, the French striker has chosen to end his professional career (just a matter of hours ago) at the impressive age of 37. For those that do not play soccer, ending one’s career at 37 would be a splendid achievement for a professional goalkeeper. But for an actively involved striker, it takes a genuine world-class talent.

That’s Thierry Henry.

And the statistics are phenomenal. Let’s try to tackle a few of them:

  • Arsenal: Henry scored 228 goals and had 93 assists in 376 games (“Thierry Henry in numbers: The stats as the Frenchman hangs up his boots,” Alex Richards, 12/16/14).
  • Barcelona: He scored 49 goals in three seasons, which amounted to 121 appearances. “He won two Liga titles, one Champions League, one Club World Cup, one Copa del Rey, one Spanish Super Cup, and one European Super Cup with FC Barcelona” (“FC Barcelona Legends: Thierry Henry,” FC Barcelona online). And yes, this was with master tactician Pep Guardiola at the helm.
  • France: Playing for his national team, he netted 51 goals in 123 caps, which included being part of the team that won the World Cup in 1998 (“Thierry Henry in numbers: The stats as the Frenchman hangs up his boots,” Alex Richards, 12/16/14). Scoring goals for France was as easy as 1-2-3 for him (had to).

The awe-inspiring stats aside, the coolest experience (cool being the optimum word for Henry) was sitting front row at the France-South Korea group match at the 2006 World Cup in Leipzig, Germany with a crowd of 43,000 people. A great bonus was that Henry scored in this game! The following absolutely needs to be said because I’ve never seen this quality in any other player: Thierry Henry does not run, but he glides. It’s crazy-ridiculously-awesome to witness. It’s really something else and I’ve never seen anyone else do that. I will never forget that experience or that amazing talents of Thierry Henry on display that night (along with a little known player named Franck Ribéry).

And while he’s certainly not the only player by any stretch of the imagination that qualifies for the following, he is one: Thierry Henry encapsulates what’s so amazing about the beautiful game. His skills, intelligence and presence on the field is special and uplifting. He’s not a nasty player, but competitive and talented. He will be missed by teammates and fans alike. On his Facebook page, he announced that his next venture will be at Sky Sports, making his return to London.

Let’s face it, there cannot be an article about Henry retiring without a highlight video:

Thierry Henry: A player with a legacy that will hover for generations to come.

Ce était une magnifique carrière!

(It was a magnificent career!)