Often hailed as the greatest Premier League player of all-time, praise has always been a constant for Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
Thierry Henry was a one-of-a-kind talent. The striker could change games in an instant with a simple touch of a ball. While his pace, flair, ingenuity, and resourcefulness made him a class act on all fronts.
His former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, once claimed Henry could take the ball in the middle of the pitch and score a goal that nobody else could do. They were big words indeed. But in hindsight, they summed up ‘Titi’ perfectly.
The Frenchman, who ended his playing career in 2015, even has a statue built in his honor outside the Emirates Stadium in recognition of his Gunners legacy.
So here we’ll look at some of the biggest names have to had to say on the former Arsenal, Barcelona, Monaco, and New York Red Bulls frontman.
Zizou played alongside Henry for the French national team, making 61 appearances together. They led Les Bleus to World Cup and European glory.
“Thierry Henry is probably technically the most gifted footballer ever to play the beautiful game,” Zidane once said.
The 57-year-old Italian enjoyed trophy-laden spells with both Juventus and Chelsea across his playing days before hanging up his boots in 1999. Therefore, he never played alongside Henry.
But Vialli, who was a brilliant striker in his own right, recognized the Arsenal star’s class right from the offset, saying: “The only way to stop Thierry Henry? With a gun!”
Thuram made 131 appearances alongside Henry with AS Monaco, France, and FC Barcelona in a glorious partnership.
“He’s a wizard with his feet and is blessed with a gift for scoring goals,” Thuram once said. “His best quality is his speed while the ball is at his feet. He may be the fastest man ever to lace up a football boot. No defender in the world can keep up with him.”
Carragher, who made over 700 appearances for Liverpool during his career, squared off against Henry many times in the Premier League and was often left licking his wounds afterward.
So it’s not surprising the Reds legend rates him as his most difficult opponent.
“I think Thierry Henry is the greatest Premier League player of all time and certainly my toughest opponent,” Carra told Sky Sports.
“That Arsenal Invincibles team he played in and the two or three years around that would certainly be the toughest opponent I played at and that’s home and abroad.”
After joining Barcelona in 2007, Henry spent the following three years alongside a young Messi. The pair made 89 appearances together, participating in 18 joint goals and winning seven trophies.
Speaking about Henry, Messi said: “The first day that he came into the dressing room, I did not dare to look him in the face. I knew everything that he had done in England.”
Both Scholes and Henry shared a mutual respect. The latter even once claimed the Manchester United great was the best Premier League over the last 15 years in 2015, which Scholes returned in kind.
“On his day he was absolutely scintillating, a supreme athlete and a magnificent footballer,” Scholes said. “What amazed me was that he never seemed to get a sweat on. He could run 100 meters past five players and he wouldn’t even be breathing heavily.”
It was a shame we didn’t get to see more of Ronaldinho and Henry together at Barcelona. They were the best players in the early 2000s, but only made 18 appearances alongside each other at Camp Nou in one season.
“Henry is a beautiful player and has got complete technique, I adore watching him,” Ronaldinho once said. “I respect him very much as a man and as a footballer. He reminds me of myself.”
The Scottish manager was often on the receiving end of Henry’s class during his three years at Southampton.
“Arsene Wenger was talking about comparisons with Johan Cruyff, a player who only comes around every 10 years and Thierry Henry is definitely one of those,” said Strachan.
Henry surpassed the legendary Platini as France’s all-time record scorer in October 2007, leading the three-time Ballon d’Or winner to pay tribute to his compatriot.
Platini said: “He’s got something that no French player has ever had. He can do everything: from scoring goals, to giving assists, crossing, and creating space for other players, and he fights for every ball. I’ve never seen a player in France like him.”
The French coach played a pivotal role in converting Henry into one of the deadliest strikers throughout all of Europe during his career.
“It was embarrassing for the defenders. He just scored when he wanted,” Wenger once proclaimed.