Thierry Henry, world class

Legend of the game at the helm of the Montreal Impact

You know the name. You’ve seen his goals. You recognize the legend. Now, he’s coming to Montreal.

Thierry Henry will be the new coach of the Montreal Impact.

Of course, books can be written about the Frenchman’s exploits in the beautiful game, but we’ll try and keep it short and sweet.

It all started way back for the footballing legend, in 1994, when he made his debut for Arsene Wenger’s AS Monaco. Of course, as we know, this would be just the beginning for those two.

After finding success in Monaco, it was onto Juventus. Henry was still mostly playing on the wing at this time, something that began under Wenger at Monaco, because the former head coach thought his pace and ball control would be better suited against full-backs than centre-backs.

But things didn’t work out as they should have in Turin. In the end, Henry made just 16 appearances for the club, eventually transferring to Arsenal, joining his former coach at Monaco, Wenger, for a second time.

The rest, as they say, is history.

It’s in North London that Henry made his name – where he was dubbed world class. This time Wenger didn’t make the same mistake twice – he was immediately moulded into a striker. It wasn’t all easy for the Frenchman – Henry failed to score in his first eight games – although Henry would finish his first season with 26 goals.

Lots of success would follow this initial season – the historic unbeaten season in 2004, where Arsenal’s squad would be dubbed the “Invincibles”, his first Premier League success in 2002, the Champions League final in 2006, where they were just edged out by FC Barcelona.

Arsenal is where Henry reached legend status, his 228 goals for the club cementing him as Arsenal’s best ever goalscorer. Finally, in 2007, after eight years with the club, he would move to Barcelona.

In Spain, playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, and the Impact’s Bojan, Henry would finally put his hands on the trophy he missed out on in

2006 – the UEFA Champions League, in 2009. Together with Messi and Eto’o, they would form one of the most prolific trios in the history of Spanish football, netting 72 goals between them.

In 2010, his decision to cross the Atlantic and join the New York Red Bulls proved to be a fruitful one as well. He would stay with the side for four and a half years, scoring 51 goals and adding 42 assists in MLS.

At the international level, Henry would finish as France’s top goalscorer, winning the World Cup in 1998, in France, followed by the Euro in 2000. 

When he hung up his boots to take on coaching, and we looked back at the stunning career the Frenchman had put together, one thing sticks out more than most – his style. No one can score the way Thierry Henry scored – it was unique.

A shift to coaching

Now, his path has led him to Montreal, where the next chapter of his coaching career will begin.

Henry wasted no time getting into coaching following the end of his career, going back to where he made his fame and joining Arsenal’s Academy, working closely once again with head coach Arsene Wenger.

Holder of a UEFA Pro coaching license, Henry would then accept the assistant coaching job with the Belgian national team. Who can forget seeing him at the 2018 World Cup, oddly representing the Belgians in the semifinals against his home country, France? In a tightly contested affair, it was a header that made the difference, and Henry would have to settle for a bronze medal, gaining valuable experience, however, at the highest level of world soccer. 

The next step was obvious for the Frenchman: a head coaching position of his own, and that opportunity came with the club that had scouted him as a young player all those years ago, AS Monaco.

The task was a mammoth one. Monaco was sitting in the relegation zone when Henry arrived, and turning their misfortunes around proved a difficult task, Henry managing four wins, five draws, and 11 losses in 20 games in charge.

Henry now returns to a league he knows well, having ended his career on this side of the Atlantic. Alongside sporting director Olivier Renard, Thierry Henry will lead the way for the Impact in 2020, instilling a new era for the Montreal club.