There are waaaaaaay too many Thierry Henry masterpieces to choose from, so much so it”s almost impossible to pick his “best” goals — though this video compilation does its level best.

Here”s a guy who could dribble past entire defenses, or simply whack the ball home from long-range. He could pull off outrageous pieces of skill before scoring, or simply sprint past the last man before curling the ball beyond the “keeper like it was no biggie.

So instead of picking his best goals, we”ve decided to pick his most iconic ones — the ones that defined him, that encapsulated his genius, his audacity, his class, his swagger. The ones the fans will always remember him for.

1. Putting Arsenal on the map

Despite being The Invincibles in England, Arsenal were relatively unfancied in Europe. For all their wonderful football — and the magnificence of Henry — few would ever place them on the same pedestal as your Real Madrids, Barcelonas, Bayern Munichs and Manchester Uniteds. Arguably, Arsenal”s problem has always been that many of its players seemed to feel the same — they just never seemed to have the conviction that they could mix it with the big boys.

But the one player you just knew would never think that way, was Henry.

And so it was during the 2005/06 campaign, when Henry announced Arsenal”s potency to the rest of Europe with an absolutely stunning winner against the Galacticos of Real Madrid. It was the Champions League first knockout round at the Bernabeu — the perfect stage (no English club had won at the stadium up until then).

It was a remarkable season for Arsenal — the club had just sold captain Patrick Vieira to Juventus, and a new group of youngsters were emerging under Henry”s captaincy. Players like Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Jose Antonio Reyes were already in and around the first team. On top of that, Arsene Wenger had signed youngsters Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Adebayor and Abou Diaby in the summer.

The season culminated with Arsenal making it to the Champions League final, where they were rather unfortunate to be beaten by Barcelona. Jens Lehmann was sent off in the 18th minute, but Sol Campbell still managed to give Arsenal a lead, heading home an Henry free-kick. Barcelona only drew level with 14 minutes on the clock, and they clinched a late winner through Juliano Belletti.

Despite the heartbreak, Henry”s goal against Real Madrid was an incredible moment, one that arguably gave the club the belief to go all the way to the final.

2. THAT backheel

Unlike the one against Real Madrid, this goal wasn”t of much significance. It was against Charlton Athletic, in a match that Arsenal would go on to win comfortably by a 4-0 margin.

But boy, was it a beaute. With his back to goal オンライン カジノ at a tight angle, and Charlton defender Jonathan Fortune all over him, there seemed no way at all Henry could score.

But Henry didn”t just score — he humiliated Fortune. He back-heeled the ball, through Fortune”s legs, into the bottom corner of the goal.

Just when you thought you”ve seen it all with Henry, he goes and pulls this off. Unbelievable.

3. Destroying Liverpool

A hat-trick against Liverpool will always be an achievement. But getting one the way Henry did? That”s the stuff of legends.

Liverpool took the lead twice, including a beautifully-crafted second goal by Michael Owen, the result of a sensational Steven Gerrard pass.

Henry responded to Liverpool”s first goal thanks to an equally sublime assist from Robert Pires, before Pires scored the equaliser himself.

Then came the Henry show. His second goal was the pick of the bunch. He received the ball near the centre circle (for a striker that scored so many sprinting away from the last man, he actually did an awful lot of work in midfield), and immediately took on the first Liverpool player in his way — Dietmar Hamann. Now the German defensive midfielder was no slouch, and yet Henry left him on his backside as he raced past him.

Then came the crowd of Liverpool players in the penalty area. Jamie Carragher stepped up to stop him, but again, Henry”s trickery had him tripping over himself, and just like that, the Frenchman was through on goal with the entire Liverpool defense befuddled.

After that, it was just a formality for Henry with only the goalkeeper to beat — even though many lesser players would have failed to curl the ball home from that tight angle after such a lung-busting run. For Henry, not a problem. 3-2 to Arsenal.

He completed his hat-trick thanks to another brilliant assist — this time from Dennis Bergkamp. It was a lucky goal, as his shot had bounced off the goalkeeper, back off his shins, and into the empty net.

4. Humiliating the old enemy

Henry was never one to shy away from taking digs at Arsenal”s great rivals, Tottenham Hotspur (aka TOT”NUM Hotspur, according to Coach Lasso). He has been quoted various times saying how proud he is to have never lost to Tottenham — and now he never will.

So imagine how much it meant to Arsenal fans, when in 2002, he scored one of the greatest goals the English game will ever see, against Tottenham.

He received the ball a full 80 yards from Tottenham”s goal, but within seconds (around 10 seconds, based on the video below), he had already sprinted and evaded three Tottenham players to place the ball firmly in the net with his weaker left foot.

His subsequent celebration showed just much of a true Arsenal fan he had become. He sprinted another 80 yards to shove it the faces of the Tottenham fans in the away stand. Not the most sportsmanlike behaviour (remember the fuss Arsenal fans kicked up when Adebayor did the same after scoring against them for Manchester City?), but that was what Henry was all about. There was an arrogance to him, and a unbridled passion for the game and his club that inspired everyone at Arsenal.

5. Gunning down the champions

Manchester United were the big boys of English football in 2000. They had won two Premier League titles in a row, and would go on to win a third that season.

A young Thierry Henry, however, was finally hitting his stride in the rough-and-tumble of the English game after a promising but often difficult first season.

In hindsight, that goal was probably a key turning point for Henry and Arsenal. The knowledge that Arsenal had this young Frenchman would have the audacity — and skill — to score such a sumptuous goal against the seemingly untouchable champions, was worth more than the three points it gave Arsenal that day.

People were talking about the goal for months. Fans were awed. They started believing what Henry and Wenger had always believed — that Henry had the talent and character to transform Arsenal into champions.

No surprise, then, that Arsenal would wrestle the title from Manchester United the following season, and win the FA Cup for good measure. Henry, of course, was the league”s top scorer with 24 goals. He had finally arrived. The rest, as they say, is history.

BONUS GOAL: Return of the King

In the twilight of his career, having won all there is to win with Arsenal, Barcelona and the French national team, Henry joined the New York Red Bulls. During the off-season, however, he made an emotional return to Arsenal in a two-month loan deal.

His first match back was an FA Cup tie against Leeds United, where he came on as a substitute in a match Arsenal were struggling to win. Words can”t properly describe what happens next. And no, we aren”t even trying to be click-bait-y here. Watch the video.

Did we miss out any iconic, Thierry Henry-defining goals? Leave us a comment!


Ian is the editor of R.AGE. He hates writing about himself.

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