Thierry Henry returns to New York after ‘completing the story of the legend’

They say you should never go back, but as Thierry Henry boards his return flight to New York this afternoon, he can consider six weeks spent back with his beloved Arsenal as a job well done.

“Thierry completed the story of the legend,” remarked manager and mentor Arsène Wenger on Saturday, after his 34-year-old hired help had flicked home his 229th and final Arsenal goal, as the Gunners edged past a spirited Sunderland side at the Stadium of Light.

It was Henry’s third goal in six appearances on his return to English football, coming from just three shots on target, and showcased just a glimpse of the delights the Frenchman had offered before being tempted by Barcelona in 2007.

He left North London then, in his own words, as a selfish captain, who had ordered possession of the ball, not earned it, quitting after boardroom rumblings left uncertainty over whether the club that had made him, would be able to fulfil his ambition of lifting Europe’s biggest prize, the Champions League.

Henry managed to achieve that goal in Spain, but never looked the same player. A switch to America and the exciting New York Red Bulls followed, but still, Henry seemed a man held back, with unfinished business elsewhere. He had always hoped of a return to Arsenal, and then after 18 months of flirting, including training stints and pre-season friendly’s, he was eventually given the chance to secure his legacy by re-signing on a short-term loan in January.

Both player and manager were quick to say Henry would be a sideshow, not the main attraction, but his sparkling personality and talent has driven an Arsenal side down on quality but high on spirit in recent weeks, with a winner against Leeds United in the FA Cup and one versus Blackburn Rovers in a 7-1 rout showing there is still class in his wily old legs.

The news filtered through last week that New York Red Bulls would be exercising their right to recall Henry for their training camp in Arizona, meaning no dream show down with Tottenham, the club he has teased and tormented in his Gunners pomp. as such, his final run out for Arsenal would come against AC Milan, in a competition that had intrigued and frustrated one of the Europe’s golden centre forwards for years.

Arsenal, 2-0 down and sinking, drafted Henry into the action at half time, but there would be no dream swansong. the 34-year-old shouted, waved his arms and led by example, but in the end epitomised the Gunners performance, by trying everything and doing little.

Henry had failed once again to spark Arsenal to European glory, but as he strolled over to say ‘au revoir’ to the travelling faithful at the San Siro last night, the fans who had cheered his every flick and kick, were just delighted to have seen a player who represents everything the club stands for, complete the story of the legend.

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Thierry Henry returns to New York after ‘completing the story of the legend’

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