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14 facts you did not know about Thierry Henry

LONDON - MARCH 10:  Thierry Henry of Arsenal celebrates scoring the first goal for Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal and Celta Vigo at Highbury on March 10, 2004 in London.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
The King is a true legend of the modern game
Rebant Malhotra

‘’I eat football, I sleep football, I breathe football. I'm not mad, I'm just passionate.’’

This quote by the legend Thierry Henry perfectly summarises the Frenchman’s love for football. The Arsenal legend was one player that could change the course of a game solely using his technique and skill. The Premier League is yet to see a better striker and arguably a better player.

The King, as he is often called, is Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer, where he achieved a God-like status. Henry has immortalised himself in the eyes of not just Arsenal fans but football fans in general with some scintillating performance in a career that spanned over 18 years.

Also read: 6 interesting things you didn't know about Lionel Messi

Let’s take a look at 14 interesting facts that you may not know about the legendary Frenchman.


#1 Football idol

Dutch footballer Marco van Basten having scored the first of his three goals against England during a European Championship match in Dusseldorf, 15th June 1988. Holland won 1-3. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Not many have reached the heights that Marco van Basten has

NBA once organised a special one-on-one interview between Theirry Henry and basketball legend Kobe Bryant, where both the players discussed their footballing idols. To everyone’s surprise both the players mentioned the name of Dutch star and AC Milan legend, Marco van Basten, who is considered one of the greatest players of his time.

."Marco van Basten was my favourite player," said Henry.

"[He is] one of the best strikers in history. I saw him when I was a child and how he hit the ball was incredible. I tried to imitate his every move."


#2 His favourite goal for Arsenal

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09:  Thierry Henry (C) of Arsenal scores during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on January 9, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Henry marked his Arsenal return with a goal against Leeds

Henry scored some real belters in his time at Arsenal. The Frenchman scored 228 goals for the Gunners and continues to be the highest goalscorer in the London club’s 130 odd-year history.

However, his favourite goal was not one where he scored a sensation volley or dribbled through a large number of players. It was instead the one he scored against Leeds United in his first game back in an Arsenal shirt.

"That one was personal. It won't go down in FA Cup history but it was the first time I scored as a fan.

"You know, I wasn't meant to come back and I came back. I wasn't meant to play, I played. I wasn't meant to score, I scored. It was so emotional. It wasn't about technique or about the score, it was what it meant to me.”

#3 His greatest Premier League player

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Paul Scholes of Manchester United scores his team's second goal  during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford on April 8, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
One of Manchester United’s greatest ever players

This one will definitely delight Manchester United fans. In an exclusive with Sky Sports, Henry revealed that the best player he has played against and seen in the Premier League is none other than United midfield legend, Paul Scholes.

Henry stated that Scholes has never been given the credit he deserves and the central midfielder was absolutely crucial to Manchester United’s success in the Ferguson era. The Frenchman added that if he had to select a team, it would revolve around Scholes.

“(He's) one of the best, if not the best, I've played against, he could do anything.

"If I had a Paul Scholes in my team, everything would be around him. At Manchester United, they saw it like that, but I think Paul Scholes is one of the best I've played against in this league, and seen anywhere."


#4 A chance meeting with Arsene Wenger

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09:  Thierry Henry of Arsenal prepares to come on as a substitute during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on January 9, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
The two have shared a close relationship ever since they met at Monaco

Thierry Henry did not end up at Arsenal the usual way. The transfer actually happened after a chance meeting between Wenger and Henry. The striker revealed in an Arsenal Legends documentary, that he accidentally met Wenger aboard a flight to Paris and expressed his desire to join him at Arsenal.

The Arsenal manager then got down to work and Henry was an Arsenal player in August 1999.

#5 Pre-match ritual

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(Video courtesy: PUMA)

The legend, in an exclusive interview with Four Four Two, revealed that he did not have many pre-match rituals and would only listen to high tempo rap music or Zouk music to get him in the zone before a match. Some of his favourite artists are Dr Dre, Snoop Dog, Xzibit, Wu-Tang Klan and Tupac.

Music has always been a big part of Henry’s pre-match plans and the player is glad that coaches and managers are more liberal with its use nowadays.

“It works differently for me because music is always on in my life – whatever I’m doing. When I’m in my house, in the car, out and about. Music takes me back to different places.

“If I want to go back to when I was young and see myself playing with my dad I know exactly what music to listen to. And I know what music to play to put me in the mood for a game.”


#6 His favourite song

Henry has always stressed that music was his way of getting in the zone. But the song that was always on his playlist was Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’. The Frenchman revealed that he would always listen to the song and say ‘I’m not’, but once France won the World Cup, he actually started connecting with the song.

“I’ll always remember winning the World Cup and listening to that song – they’re connected for me.”

#7 Big fan of basketball

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers : News Photo
Henry is a huge San Antonio Spurs fan

If you believe that Henry was only a big football fan, you’re mistaken. The striker has, for all obvious reasons, a strong dislike for Spurs when it comes to football, but is a big San Antonio Spurs fan when it comes to basketball. In fact, he has been spotted on occasions donning the San Antonio Spurs hat and jersey.

Kobe Bryant of LA Lakers (now retired) and Tony Parker of San Antonio are two players that Henry often hangs out with. The Frenchman has even visited his compatriot Parker during his practice sessions.


#8 The One 4 All Foundation

Henry, who was a victim of racism during his childhood, is involved with several institutions to fight the evil of racism that continues to plague the world. The footballer launched his own charity ‘The One 4 All Foundation’ using the two digits of his Arsenal and Barcelona jersey.

The aim of the cause is to fund sports and educational projects in an attempt to root out social inequality and the foundation is currently operating in Europe and Africa.

#9 His favourite movies

'Entourage' - European Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals : News Photo
Henry at the European premiere of Entourage

Like most of us, Henry is also a big movie buff. The Frenchman’s interest in English movies came after his move to London in 1999. His favourite movies are Kevin Spacey’s crime thriller ‘The Usual Suspects’ and Denzel Washington’s ‘Antwone Fisher’, which is a biopic on the life of a Navy sailor of the same name.


#10 Involved in movies

Henry’s interest in movies is not just restricted to watching them on the big screen. The French footballer has also starred in a few films. Apart from the Goal movie series, the Frenchman has also featured in Entourage, the movie version of the famous TV show. He has also been a part of documentaries like The Referee, Substitute and 1:1 Thierry Henry, all of which are based on football in one way or another.

#11 Va-Va-Voom races into the dictionary

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Something which probably no other footballer can boast of, Henry has been the reason why a word has been added to the Oxford dictionary. The player made the phrase va-va-voom famous as a result of his Renault commercials. The usage and popularity of the word became so incredible that the Oxford dictionary adopted the word which means, "The quality of being exciting, vigorous, or sexually attractive".

"We have evidence of it going back to the 1950s from the US as imitating the noise of an engine," said a representative of the Oxford University Press.

"But it is Thierry Henry's use of the term in the TV adverts that has earned it a place in the dictionary. We have seen it used more widely as a result."


#12 Antillean heritage

A lot of people believe that Henry has African roots because he plays for France which had colonised a lot of the African countries. However, this is completely untrue. The player is actually of Antillean heritage, which is in the Caribbean or West Indies region.

Henry’s father is from Guadeloupe and his mother from Martinique, and despite the fact they lie far away from France, both of these territories are actually a part of France.

However, Henry’s childhood was spent in mainland France in the suburbs of Paris.

#13 Big foodie

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(Video courtesy: PUMA)

Thierry Henry is a massive food lover and loves chicken, peas, rice and his home made Carribean food. In fact, during his time in New York, Henry revealed how much he missed his mother’s cooking and the fact that home made food was probably the best food.

The Frenchman’s favourite cuisines are Italian, Oriental, Carribean, Spanish and Mexican. Henry, in an exclusive interview with Puma, also revealed that although he was not an amazing cook, he could make different varieties of food.


#14 Loves dancing

Henry is good with his feet, not just when it comes to football, but on the dance floor as well. The player has often shown his moves on the football field in various hilarious ways. Henry totally fits the Carribean stereotype and absolutely loves dancing.

In his biography, Lonely at the Top, the Frenchman revealed that after the World Cup win in 1998, he and the other French players danced through the night on a makeshift dance floor with the World Cup trophy in between while he improvised some great Russian dance steps.

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Edited by Staff Editor

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