Thierry Henry announced his retirement from professional soccer on Tuesday. The French legend has now taken a job working for Sky Sports in the UK. Whatever I write in this post will hardly do enough to encapsulate Henry’s greatness on the soccer field. If you saw him play, most-likely during his spell at Arsenal, you get it.
There might not be an “EGOT” for soccer, but Henry won nearly every important team accomplishment a soccer player can take home: the World Cup, the European Championship and the UEFA Champions League. Henry also won league titles in France, Spain and England. Maybe the only surprise is he never took home the Ballon d’Or, coming the closest in 2003 when he finished second to Juventus’ Pavel Nedved. I’ll chalk this up to the strange divide between England and continental European voters, since Henry’s best years came playing in North London, scoring 228 goals in 376 matches. He amassed 123 caps for France, retiring top of his country’s all-time scoring charts with 51 goals.
Henry’s retirement announcement comes after he had previously confirmed he would not be returning to the New York Red Bulls, the MLS side where he spent the final four years of his career—showing the vision and technique had not deserted him even if his first glorious attribute, his electric pace, had long since faded with the passing of time.
“After 20 years in the game I have decided to retire from professional football,” Henry posted on his Facebook page, having given himself time to reflect.
“It has been an incredible journey and I would like to thank all the fans, team mates and individuals involved with AS Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal FC, FC Barcelona, the New York Red Bulls and of course the French national team that have made my time in the game so special.”
Henry will mostly be remember for his time in England, and the glittering goals he scored for Arsenal when they played far and away the most exciting and attractive football in the country (and arguably the continent).
Aaron Ramsey gave fans in Istanbul their money’s worth with his second goal vs. Galatasaray in the Champions League Tuesday. A frozen rope, left-footed volley into the top corner from about 30 yards out? Yeah, that’s an excellent finish from the Arsenal midfielder. Arsenal could still trump Borussia Dortmund for top place in their group should they keep scoring and the German club fails to defeat Anderlecht via goal difference.
Mario Balotelli found his way to create another controversy and this time it could land him a suspension from the English Football Association. On Monday the Italian striker posted an image of Nintendo’s Super Mario with an antisemitic and racist caption to his Instagram account. The post, which ironically Balotelli intended to convey an anti-racism message, lasted about 15 minutes before he deleted it.
Balotelli later posted on Twitter that his foster mother is Jewish, before offering up a full apology for the post on Tuesday morning:
I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that (…) pic.twitter.com/UlNeNlEz9M
The English FA, according to the Guardian, contacted Balotelli on Tuesday and he has until Friday to respond. Batotelli, currently out with a groin injury, faces up to a five-game suspension via the FA’s social media guidelines. Earlier this year QPR’s Rio Ferdinand was suspended three games for using a derogatory term toward someone’s mother on Twitter.
Lionel Messi notched a hat trick this weekend in Barcelona’s win over Sevilla — his 251st, 252nd and 253rd goals in La Liga. This broke the record previously held by Telmo Zarra, who played for Athletic Bilbao in the 1940s and 50s, scoring 251 league goals. Messi is still only 27 years old and is going to score a lot more goals for Barça.
Messi is at the point where he is so good that his last name might as well be turned into an adjective to describe greatness. Between 2007-08 and last season he averaged 35+ goals per year in La Liga. Impressive, no? A, shall we say, Messi-ian feat.
YouTube uploader iNJRHD put together a 30+ minute clip of all 253 league goals by Messi. The video begins with Messi’s first goal –set up by Ronaldinho where he chips the Albacete goalkeeper with ease, a clear sign of things to come from the Argentine master.