Saturday, June 23, 2007

Goodbye Thierry

Thierry Henry, perhaps the greatest player in Arsenal history, and also perhaps the single most popular and admired player in the English Premier League, announced yesterday that he would be playing for the next four years with Barcelona FC. Among the reasons he gave include the departure of club chairman David Dein and the instability surrounding genius manager Arsene Wenger, but it may very well be that Henry believes Arsenal has shot its bolt. After a few years of trophy-laden greatness, Arsenal won nothing this year, and although some thought their youth would come on strong next year, others felt it would be sometime before Arsenal could win again, due largely to the massive debt service the club has to pay to play in its new Emirates Stadium.

It’s a sad day for Arsenal and English football. Henry was a great player, a good guy and the face of his franchise. Some players, whether you like them or not, just belong at their clubs. Stephen Gerrard, for instance, belongs at Liverpool, whether you like him or not. Same for Paulo Maldini at AC Milan or Raul at Real Madrid. Even after they lose it (as Raul has) some guys just belong at certain clubs. I’m sorry to see Henry go.

And as much as I like Thierry, I’m not to happy about him going to Barcelona, where he will play my Real Madrid club at least twice a year. If Barca keeps the rest of their team together (which is a big IF) they will have Henry and Eto’o at forwards with Ronaldinho and Messi on the wings. That, simply, is the best attacking team on the face of the earth. Both Eto’o and Ronaldinho may still go, but it will be interesting to see what happens. In the meantime, goodbye, Thierry. Thanks for the memories.

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