Thursday, May 25, 2006

Genius becomes legend

Over the last few years, no one has been able to touch Thierry Henry in the Premiership. A devastating package of pace, footwork, visionary reading of the game, and artistry and imagination of what might be possible - Henry has combined these with quiet dignity and professionalism to write his name large on the history books long before he has come close to hanging up his boots at the top level. Sporting journalists continue to scramble for unused superlatives to describe his sublime skills.

Following the defeat of Arsenal in the Champions League final last week, he engaged in off-the-field maneuvers that should catapult his status into a different dimension. With his contract at his club entering its twilight, and at least two Spanish clubs (certainly Barcelona, and presumably Real Madrid) courting him, he did the one thing that nobody expected him to do - and re-signed for Arsenal. In an age where professional footballers regularly seem to value money over loyalty, stability, and occasionally even first-team football, Henry'’s example to sporting youngsters is priceless.

To put the subject in some context, he is not going to struggle to pay his bills or get his groceries (reports suggest his new salary at Arsenal may be circa £110,000 per week). But consider also that he could have taken a money spinning move to many of the worlds top clubs. With the chequebooks of the biggest clubs in the world flapping in the breeze -– he re-signed for the North Londoners.

The new contract will run for four years, and Henry (who is now 28) has indicated he will see out his football life there. If during that contract, he can produce at Arsenal the quality of football of which we are all aware he is capable, the next few years will be utterly breathtaking.

His capacity to transcend the ordinary on the pitch has drawn gasps from all who have been privileged enough to witness it. In committing himself once more to Arsenal in the face of other opportunities, he should become nothing less than a legend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great footballer indeed! Could it be though that he took the lead from one of his teammates. Looking back at the career of Dennis Bergkamp (who has just announced retirement), he has also stuck with the gunners for a long time. And yes, even he could have made a move to most other clubs in Europe if he wanted at just about any time.