Ahead of another emotional return to the Emirates Stadium, Thierry Henry has credited much of his remarkable success in the red and white of Arsenal to the fans who took him to their hearts and shared his passion for the beautiful game.
The Frenchman became the club's record goalscorer on his way to cementing himself as a legend among the north London faithful and will make his second return to the club where he became a hero with New York Red Bulls.
“I had an amazing relationship with Arsenal supporters," he said. "A weird one, too, though. I know I can be a pain in the neck. And they knew that. Without those fans, I’d never have done what I did.
“The people who worked around the club, too. They helped me understand what it meant to play for Arsenal. You know: what it meant to beat Tottenham! The supporters see everything. They see what you’re doing, what you’re trying to do.
"It’s a great thing about English fans. Winning helps but, if you play hard and respect the shirt, they remember that. And that’s something priceless for me."
Henry's first return to Arsenal came in 2010 during the Champions League tie while with Barcelona and he admits that following last year's difficult reunion, he's glad that the second meeting will be under more relaxed circumstances.
“When I came with Barcelona in the Champions League, I was on the bench and came on. It was a weird experience," he added. "That was the worst possible draw for me. Obviously I had to play hard and try to help my team. But it was if I was playing against my brother.
"I had a job to do but, you know, you love your brother and you don’t ever want to hurt your brother. This time, I think, will be completely different. It’s a friendly game, for a start. We’ll be trying not to take a beating, though."
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