Thierry Henry honoured by Emirates Stadium statue

Thierry Henry has spoken of his love for Arsenal in an emotional speech at the unveiling of a statue of him at Emirates Stadium.

"I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have a statue like this in front of the stadium of the team I love and support," said the French striker.

"Once a Gooner, always a Gooner."

Henry's is one of three statues unveiled  to celebrate the club's 125th anniversary, with Tony Adams and Herbert Chapman also honoured.

Henry, who scored a club record 226 goals between 1999 and 2007, stopped his speech briefly to compose himself as he thanked the club's fans and his former team-mates.

"The way the statue is gives the perfect example of the love I have for the club - me kneeling facing Emirates Stadium and Highbury behind is amazing," he started.

THIERRY HENRY AT ARSENAL

  • Appearances: 370
  • Goals 226
  • Premier League titles: two
  • FA Cups: three
  • PFA Player of the Year awards: two
  • Premier League top scorer: four times

"I also have to thank the fans, you have always been special, and I always try to give my best. I know at times it was not enough, but I always give it all out there on the field for you guys and the club."

After pausing to check his emotions, the 34-year-old continued: "I know some of the press used to kill me for not showing emotion - well, there you go, I am showing emotion for the club I love.

"Whatever I do, I do it with my heart, that is the way I am."

Manager Arsene Wenger, who paid £11m to bring Henry to the club from Italian side Juventus in 1999, added his own tribute to Henry.

"He is a player who had everything you dream of as a manager - physical potential, a technical level, super intelligence and, what people also forget for many top-level athletes, he was dedicated to his job, with a very serious life," Wenger said of his compatriot.

"He is simply a model [professional] who won everything you can in our world -Thierry, you were really special."

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The statues are life size and a half, have taken roughly 625 hours to create and weigh about 200kg each

Henry was the only one of the three immortalised in bronze to attend Friday's ceremony.

Adams was unable to return to north London due to a prior meeting with the president of FC Gabala.

The 45-year-old resigned as manager of the Azerbaijani club in November.

Adams, a commanding centre-back during his playing days, led the Gunners to four league titles after joining Arsenal as a 17-year-old in 1984.

He went on to make 669 appearances - second only to David O'Leary in the club's history - before he retired in 2002.

Chapman, who had won an FA Cup and two league titles at Huddersfield, was appointed Arsenal manager in 1925 and within two years had taken the Gunners to their first FA Cup final.

He won the club's first top-flight titles in 1931 and 1933 but died in January 1934 at the age of 55 after a heavy cold turned to pneumonia.