Quotes on: Thierry Henry

Henry at his peak was a force of nature unlike anything the Premier League has seen. For a time the most dominant performer in European football, Henry laid waste to every team in front of him with his blistering pace, astonishing technique and the intelligence and natural understanding of the game only a handful possess. He took time settling down at Arsenal, but after 376 games and 228 goals, including unforgettable strikes at the San Siro, the Santiago Bernabeu, Anfield, Old Trafford, and enough sensational strikes at Highbury to live in the collective memory for generations, Henry departed a legend, the greatest player ever to wear an Arsenal shirt. That he went on to win a treble at Barcelona, adding to two Premier League titles, and a World Cup and European Championship, tells you all you need to know about the last nature of his impact on European football in the 21st century.

As with the other great French player of his generation, there were moments that threatened to tarnish Henry’s legacy, but there can be no doubt that the name can only evoke fond memories of one of the greatest footballers of his time, a legend who carved his name into the annals of English football, and an athlete forever immortalized in bronze.

What follow are over 60 fantastic quotes about the great Thierry Henry, coming from team-mates, opponents and other admirers from within the game, including legends such as Zidane, Ronaldinho, Bergkamp, and Messi.

“What makes him special? He has a mixture of physical talent and technical ability, as well as remarkable intelligence and above all a great passion for the game.”
— Arsene Wenger
(from http://www.arsenal.com)

“Thierry Henry could take ball in the middle of park and score a goal that no one else in the world could score.”
— Arsene Wenger

“It was embarrassing for the defenders. He just scored when he wanted.”
— Arsene Wenger

“His sensational career was down simply to Thierry’s class. He is a player who had everything you dream of as a manager – physical potential, a technical level, super intelligence and what people also forget for many top level athletes, is he was dedicated to his job, with a very serious life. He is simply a model professional who won everything you can in our world.”
— Arsene Wenger
(from http://www.arsenal.com)

“[ . . . ] I spoke to a number of pros and they all said they hadn’t seen anything like it (Thierry Henry’s performance against Liverpool in a 4-2 Premier League win at Highbury in April 2004. Henry scored a hat-trick). On his day, he had become unplayable, and more and more since then it has been his day. I have to say I haven’t seen a player like him. He’s an athlete with great technical ability and a tremendous desire to be the best.”
— Alan Smith
(former Arsenal striker)

“He can do things Ronaldo can’t. When he’s in the mood there’s no stopping him. He is like no other striker.”
— Alan Smith

“The best striker I have ever seen in this country. His goals speak for themselves, he took it to a new level with his pace, power and confidence. He was a magnificent player.”
— Alan Smith

“Thierry has never been the prototype of the player who sticks in the box to score goals. He is so hard to block because he participates in the game before finding himself the space to score. The ball is alive when Arsenal are playing and you can see Thierry takes a lot of pleasure from the technique and movement of the players around him.”
— Arnold Catalano
(the Monaco scout who spotted a 13-year-old Henry score six goals in a 6-0 victory and signed him immediately)

“He was charismatic, educated, elegant. Just as he was on the pitch.”
— Joan Laporta

“When he’s on fire, he is impossible to stop. He dribbles like a winger, but is still able to score 20 goals a year in the Premiership.”
— Fabio Capello

“He is a mesomorph: the perfect physical specimen. With that pace, he could have been a top-class sprinter but when he runs, he’s doing it with a ball. You wonder how on earth he controls it, particularly with two players trying to mark him, but that’s what makes him a world-class striker. His eye for goal is getting greater and greater, he can improvise with his wonderful skills and his record [for Arsenal goals] will stand for a long time.”
— Bob Wilson
(former Arsenal goalkeeper)

“The word ‘great’ is overused but in Thierry’s case it is absolutely true.”
— Bob Wilson

“Thierry Henry would play for Arsenal like he was a 20-year-old playing in an Under-12 league, and I’ve never seen that before.”
— Paul Merson

“The only way to stop Thierry Henry? With a gun!”
— Gianluca Vialli

“He’s a wizard with his feet and is blessed with a gift for scoring goals. 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.”
Lilian Thuram
(from http://www.arsenal.com)

“Thierry Henry is probably technically the most gifted footballer ever to play the beautiful game.”
Zinedine Zidane
(from http://www.arsenal.com)

“The last player you want the ball to go to is the best player on the planet.”
Steven Gerrard

“On his day he was absolutely scintillating, a supreme athlete and a magnificent footballer. 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.” Paul Scholes (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“As a football fan I enjoy watching Henry, and some of the goals he scored last year were frightening. He’s one of those player where you know what he’s going to do but you just can’t stop it. He’s so quick,so strong and so confident. It feels like every game he’s going to score a goal.”
Ryan Giggs

“When I was at Spain I thought Zinedine Zidane was the best in the world, but playing alongside Thierry made me realise that I was playing alongside the best footballer in the planet.”
— Jose Antonio Reyes

“There is only one word to describe Henry—a nightmare. He is one of the best strikers in the world and a kind of player a goalkeeper doesn’t want to face.”
— Carlo Cudicini

A nightmare for defenders, but a dream to watch.
A nightmare for defenders, but a dream to watch.

“Henry is a fantastic player and has shown it for a long time, he’s been playing at the top level in Europe for years. It’s difficult to mark him.”
— Javier Zanetti

“What was obvious was that he had this incredible acceleration,  capacity to go past players at pace, but it was his finishing that really made him stand apart.”
— Philippe Auclair

“You will still hear people in France saying, ‘well he didn’t quite deliver for France, but he delivered for Arsenal.’ And you think, well, he only became World and European champion and played another World Cup final for France. Apart from that, he was a real failure.”
— Philippe Auclair

“The most prodigious thing about Thierry Henry is the consistency. From the moment he started hitting this vein of form with Arsenal, let’s say 2000, to 2006, is something that really marks him as one of the greats.”
— Philippe Auclair

“He could do things that were absolutely incredible, and it wasn’t just his pace – he was an intelligent footballer. He adapted to the scenario and the physical side of the English league. He came in and could do everything, and everyone was just wowed.”
— Charlie Nicholas

“I tell my kids in the Academy at Newcastle to watch Henry. He plays with such a swagger, not an arrogance, and that is a great quality. He always looks so comfortable. You talk about cars going from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds, and he is like that. He just explodes. I could sit there for hours and watch him.”
— Peter Beardsley

“Character-wise, he was a winner, you could tell that straight away. But he had everything on the ball as well, he had skill, trickery, he could go past a player, and he had an eye for goal.”
— Ray Parlour

“He always had so much talent but he improved so much. He was an athlete as well – 6’1”, 6’2” but he could run once he got into his stride. He was an absolutely fantastic player. But his finishing – that was his main strength.” 
— Ray Parlour

“Thierry is the best striker in the world. By far he’s the best in the world. Thierry doesn’t just score goals. Even when he’s not having a good day he can make an important pass. He is a strong character. If things go wrong, he bounces straight back. His effect on the club is very big.”
Patrick Vieira
(from http://www.arsenal.com)

“I’m always asked by Arsenal fans if I think Thierry is the greatest ever Arsenal player. It’s impossible to answer, but he is the greatest player on the planet at present. You can see that he scares defences and players like that come round once in a blue moon.”
— Tony Adams (2006)

“I saw Henry before the ’98 World Cup and he was playing left-wing, and even Arsene couldn’t have seen what he would develop into as a centre forward. Naturally because he played left-wing all those years he naturally slipped to that side and came up with that right-foot finish. It was always natural for him and he must have got about 50 goals just doing that move!”
— Tony Adams

“If you look at the whole package, with everything Henry has, I don’t think you can find that anywhere else. You give him the ball in the right place and his acceleration will take him past any defender in the world.”
— Dennis Bergkamp
(from http://www.arsenal.com)

“Thierry, for me, is one of the most complete players I’ve ever played with. It doesn’t matter how he gets the ball. Just do it. He makes it look very simple but we all know it’s very hard.”
— Dennis Bergkamp

“I know from playing against Thierry how good a player he was. His game was built around incredible pace, power, and finishing, not to mention the ability to read the game better than most.”
— Jamie Redknapp

“He’d run past you like you weren’t there. For a couple of years he was the best player in the world. Two or three players would try to foul him, but he’d just cut inside and put it in the top corner.”
— Jamie Redknapp

“He was so quick, so graceful. It was almost like he could run through a puddle and wouldn’t make a splash. He was that good, it was effortless during the game. The first time I played against him, he used to drift to the left side of the pitch, he used to cut in, pick the ball up, go past two, and just bend it into the corner. Boy, how do you do that? He was such a good player.”
— Jamie Redknapp

“It was almost like he could run through a puddle and wouldn’t make a splash.”

“What a great player Thierry Henry is – I’d say he’s the best player ever to play in the Premiership, probably just ahead of Alan Shearer.”
— Jamie Carragher (2005)

“Thierry Henry was number one, and playing against him was certainly the most difficult task I faced playing (in) Premier League football.  [ . . . ] He was an athlete as well as a footballer [ . . . ] I always felt he would’ve been close to being in an Olympic final. The 100 metres, you could’ve seen Thierry Henry there, running for France, he was that quick. He was in a different league, pace-wise and footballing ability-wise, than anyone else we’ve ever seen in this league.”
— Jamie Carragher

“He was certainly the toughest opponent I ever faced, and possibly the best player the Premier League has seen. I would have loved him to be on the same team as me during my playing career.”
— Jamie Carragher

“I’ve used this analogy before and I make no apology for using it again. When he hit top gear and ran past you, it was like trying to chase after someone on a motorbike. When Arsenal were ‘The Invincibles’ in the period between 2003-2004, Henry rivalled Ronaldinho as the best in the world. A great goal-scorer, not to mention a scorer of great goals, he is the finest player I have seen in the Premier League. His game didn’t have a weakness.”
— Jamie Carragher

“People say he doesn’t score a lot of goals with his head, but does he really have to with the ability he has in his feet? He makes spectacular goals look easy. His technique is fantastic.”
Alan Shearer

“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.”
— Gordon Strachan

“Henry is a beautiful player and has got complete technique, I adore watching him. I respect him very much as a man and as a footballer. He reminds me of myself.”

“When it’s his day, Thierry can score a hat-trick with ease. He’s amazing.”
— Robert Pires

“I’ve seen most things in this league in the last 25 years. I haven’t seen anything like him. I said at the beginning of the game that he was special, he’s more then that, he’s irreplaceable.”
— Andy Gray

“He has the rare ability to both make goals and score goals out of nothing.”
— Les Ferdinand (2007)

“He took the Premiership to a new level. We’ve had some good imports – Gianfranco Zola and Dennis Bergkamp among them – but he’s been the best. He beats players, he creates goals and he scores them. I’d pay to watch him.”
— Michael Owen (2007)

“He was so powerful I’ve never seen a player being so dominant in the Premier League.”
— Cesc Fabregas

“He was unplayable, there is not a bigger compliment than that.”
— Lee Dixon

Unplayable. On a different level to anything the Premier League has seen.
Unplayable. On a different level to anything the Premier League has seen.

“He has confidence, he can score goals, he works hard and he is equally happy out wide or in the middle, he is perfect.”
— Kevin Keegan

I do remember saying to him when he scored his first goal, “I’ll be able to tell my kids I played with you,” and I meant every word of it.”
— Martin Keown

“He was like an international sprinter – he just had boots instead of spikes on. When he was confident, he such rhythm and a style of movement. It was very graceful but he did things with a swagger. That’s what was so good to watch.”
— Martin Keown

“There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the best players (that) have ever played football.”
— Martin Keown

“What do you say about a guy like Thierry? He was phenomenal, just phenomenal. In training, he was brilliant. He was proper. I’ve seen Martin (Keown), Tony (Adams), Sol (Campbell), and Steve Bould kicking lumps out him, but he just got up and gave them some back. He was a proper athlete. He could change the game in a flash, from defense straight up to attack. [ . . . ] When he came in, he was a young man, but he changed really quickly, and you could see the power and pace that he had, but he had a focus on finishing that was really special. [ . . . ] He was like a Rolls-Royce, he could turn that accelerator pedal on anytime he wanted.”
— David Seaman

“A footballing monster in respects of ability. He (had) everything.”
— Ian Wright

“Henry is now a top player himself, he is a very good player with special qualities; he scores a lot, he has unique acceleration and with his qualities he can be decisive in matches.”
Marco van Basten

“Sometimes when I see the speed Henry moves on the pitch he looks like he’s bought a motorbike. If I have to mark him [ . . . ] I will just have to get myself one as well.”
— Alessio Tacchinardi

“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.”
Lionel Messi

“The English have made a statue of him, but in France, he has not always been recognized at his full worth. With his extraordinary list of honors and his record of international goals, Thierry Henry will nonetheless remain a legend. He was an exceptional striker. Simply the best!”
— Frederic Thiriez
(president of the French league)

“He is one of those players who can really ruin your day.”
— Gianfranco Zola

“I don’t recognize myself in the players i see today, there’s only one who excites me, and that is Thierry Henry. He’s not just a great footballer, he’s a showman, an entertainer.”
George Best

“To be honest Thierry is different class. In my mind there is no better striker in the world at the moment. Marking him is near impossible, his pace is devastating, I don’t think I’ve ever come up against a player  with so many attributes.”
— Ashley Cole

“The most skillful is Thierry Henry, he has impressed me the most. He’s played a great tournament (Euro ’0o). He has the pace of Anelka, and the sense of Trezeguet. 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 see a player in France like him.”
— Michel Platini

“Henry is immense, he’s got incredible pace and it just seems he has different gears and when he gets into that third gear it’s just end of story for anyone chasing him. His pace scares defenders and I just wish I’d had half of it. But it’s not just about pace; he’s got great skill.”
— Teddy Sheringham

“He’s a fantastic talent and the complete footballer, probably the most coveted in the Premiership. It’s a privilege for the rest of us to be on the same field. If I could have anything I wanted for Christmas, I’d take Thierry Henry.”
— Steve Bruce

“His time with Arsenal was fantastic and he’s always been a good role model in how he holds himself, as a footballer and a human being. He’s never wavered from that type of professionalism that you need to achieve that status.”
Sir Alex Ferguson

“Henry has so much speed it is frightening. He is incredible. He could sell his pace, he has so much to spare. He also scores goals and, if you give him half a yard he is gone and you are in trouble.”
— Sven-Goran Eriksson

“From the ages of ten to 16, watching him the Premier League was amazing and he scored all different types of goals – free-kicks, volleys, left foot, right foot. He was entertaining. He’s probably the best centre-forward, I think, to play in the Premier League.”
— Wayne Rooney

“Henry is an artist and players like him are the reasons people get involved in football.”
— Claudio Ranieri

“I watched him a long time ago when i was manager of Fiorentina and he was playing for the French Under-21 team, I said to my chairman he is the Muhammad Ali of the football pitch because he has such elegance, such speed. He does everything with such style.”
— Claudio Ranieri

We were blessed in this country to see Thierry playing at his peak, potentially one of the greatest players in the world, and even if you supported another team you couldn’t help but enjoy watching him play. It’s always a shame when such a career comes to an end.”
Gary Neville

“Is he one of the all-time greats? Obviously. He’s the kind of player that you need forever.”
— Jose Mourinho

For some more fantastic quotes and highlights of Henry’s time at Arsenal, check this excellent video out:

A giant among men, a footballing God sent from the heavens, Henrys legacy shall be immortalized, and will stand the test of time.
A giant among men, a footballing God sent from the heavens, Henrys legacy shall be immortalized, and will stand the test of time.

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