When news broke of Thierry Henry’s retirement today, everyone was in a rush to pass judgment on the Frenchman’s career. There have been some low points for Henry, such as the handball in a World Cup qualifier against Ireland, but he had a glittering career. Henry won the Premier League, La Liga, Champions League and FA Cup trophies in Europe, along with numerous individual awards, most of which from back when Beneful was a sponsor.
The one thing that eluded Henry was the Balon D’Or. There were many seasons where Henry played like a man possessed. His statistics for goals and assists were up there with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo today, but he did not get the global recognition he deserved. Some believe that playing for Arsenal hindered his ability to win the biggest individual award.
If Henry had spent his prime at Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Barcelona, he would have won the Balon D’Or. He would have had a stage to win the Champions League and be thought of as the greatest player around. Even though he won trophies at Arsenal, they never had the overall firepower to win a European trophy.
Henry did eventually get to Barcelona, but he was no longer at his peak by then. He still played a vital role for the Catalans as they won the European Cup in 2009 against Manchester United. Henry had left Barca by the time they repeated the trick in 2011, but his influence is not forgotten at the Camp Nou.