Champions League

Henry praises Arsenal fans

2010-04-01 09:44
Thierry Henry (File)

London - Barcelona striker Thierry Henry hailed Arsenal's fans after being given a rapturous reception on his return to the Emirates Stadium in Wednesday's 2-2 Champions League draw.

Henry was facing his old club for the first time since leaving to join Barca in 2007 and the Arsenal legend received a warm welcome from the Gunners' faithful.

They chanted the 32-year-old's name before the match, cheered when he came on as a second half substitute and then stayed behind after the final whistle to give him a standing ovation as he walked off.

It was a remarkable tribute to one of Arsenal's greatest players and the France striker, who won two league titles and three FA Cups in his eight years in north London, admitted he was moved by the salute.

"It was very emotional. It was very special," he said. "Obviously coming on I got a good reception but the special moment was at the end.

"I said to myself I had to clap the Arsenal fans for the welcome back and you saw what happened after that.

"Obviously I have never hidden my love for the club and I think the fans showed there was still love for me. It was amazing."

Even Henry's presence was reduced to a something of a sideshow by Arsenal's superb second half fightback.

Arsene Wenger's men trailed to two Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals but hauled themselves back into the tie thanks to Theo Walcott's strike and a late penalty from Cesc Fabregas, who finished the match nursing a leg injury which could sideline him for the rest of the season.

Henry admitted he wasn't surprised to see his old team stage such an impressive revival because he knows just how potent the Gunners can be in front of a packed Emirates crowd.

But he believes Barca will still be happy enough with the result heading into the return leg next week at the Nou Camp.

"I'm not surprised they came back, especially with the fans. It always helps," he said.

"You can be 2-0 down and if the fans start to boo it is hard but they were helping them to come back in the game. I know exactly what can happen here.

"It would have been better if we had won but 2-2 is not a bad result."

Read more on:    champions league  |  thierry henry


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