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Six Years Ago Today, The King Returned

After scoring 226 goals in a sensational eighty-year stint with Arsenal from 1999 to 2007, Thierry Henry’s sale to Barcelona was seemingly the end of the Frenchman’s legendary time with the Gunners. Five years later, after a period with Barcelona and currently on the books with Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls, Henry romantically returned to his beloved club on a two-month loan deal.

“The thinking behind [resigning him] was that at the time I felt we were a bit short offensively,” recalled Arsene Wenger. “Thierry trained with us and I saw that he was still top class, which we all knew, but also that his motivation was intact. From then, for me it was an obvious decision.” 

At 34 years of age, Henry was certainly no longer the player that had won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2006 with his electrifying combination of pace, skill and composure, but his ability to finish chances certainly hadn’t diminished.

“I am not coming here to be a hero or prove anything. I am just coming here to help,” said Henry. “People have to understand that. I’ll be on the bench most of the time — if I can make the bench, that is.” 

But it wasn’t in Henry’s blood to be anything but the hero with Arsenal. Making his return debut against Leeds United in the FA Cup, Henry scored the only goal with a vintage finish.

Then, in his final league game of the loan spell, Henry scored the winning goal against Sunderland in stoppage time.

It was the fairytale ending that one of the greatest footballers of all time truly deserved. 

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