Thierry Henry has announced his retirement from football and that he will return to London to take up a role in the media.
The 37-year-old former Arsenal striker left the New York Red Bulls at the start of the month after they were knocked out of the MLS play-offs but there was speculation he might choose to play on at another club – with a return to Arsenalmooted.
However, the former France international and World Cup winner has instead called time on a trophy-laden career, which has included spells with Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona and the Red Bulls.
In a statement, Henry said: “After 20 years in the game I have decided to retire from professional football. It has been an incredible journey and I would like to thank all the fans, team mates and individuals involved with Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, the New York Red Bulls and of course the French National team that have made my time in the game so special.
“It is now time for a different career path and I am pleased to say that I will be returning to London and joining Sky Sports. I will hopefully share some of the insights, observations and experiences I have learnt over the years with you guys. I have had some amazing memories (mostly good) and a wonderful experience. I hope you have enjoyed watching as much as I have enjoyed taking part. See you on the other side …”
When asked if he had thought about another stint in north London, Henry told Sky Sports: “You kind of never leave Arsenal. How many comebacks do you make? At one point it will turn out to be a bad movie. We all love the first Rocky but I’m not too sure about the last one.”
Henry will always be most closely associated with Arsenal, where he is the all-time leading goalscorer with 228 goals in 377 games across two different spells.
Arsène Wenger, who had known him as a young player at Monaco, signed him from Juventus for £11m in 1999 and immediately shifted him from the wing to a central striking position. His blend of pace and power made him one of the most feared forwards in English football, and Henry won the Premier League title twice with Arsenal, as well as the FA Cup three times.
Henry left Arsenal in 2007 and joined Barcelona, where he won the Champions League in 2009. He also added two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey, Spanish Supercopa, Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup to his honours list in three seasons at the Camp Nou.
His medal collection also includes a Ligue 1 title and the Trophée des Champions – the equivalent of the Community Shield – with Monaco, his first professional club.
He spent the final five years of his playing career with the Red Bulls, returning to Arsenal to make four appearances on loan in early 2012.
With France, Henry scored 51 goals in 123 appearances – only Lilian Thuram has more caps with Les Bleus. He was a member of the 1998 World Cup winning squad, while also being a runner-up in 2006. Henry was a European champion in 2000 and was part of the team that won the Confederations Cup in 2003.
The former player will begin his work with Sky from the start of 2015, covering live international, European and domestic football and joining the current pundits Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Jamie Redknapp and Graeme Souness.
Gary Neville said: “We were blessed in this country to see Thierry playing at his peak, potentially one of the greatest players in the world and even if you supported another team you couldn’t help but enjoy watching him play. It’s always a shame when such a career comes to an end, but it’s very much Sky Sports’ gain and I look forward to working with him.”