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The Thierry Henry Post-Match Interview That Made Jose Mourinho And His Mind Games Look Foolish

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The Thierry Henry Post-Match Interview That Made Jose Mourinho And His Mind Games Look Foolish

On this day in 1999, Arsenal completed the signing of highly-rated Juventus striker Thierry Henry for a fee of 'just' £11 million.

It would turn out to be one of the greatest signings in football history. The Frenchman would score 228 goals in 377 games for the Gunners during two separate spells and, in that time, he would cement himself as one of the all-time Premier League greats.

Looking back on his time in North London, Henry would label his FA Cup winner against Leeds United as his favourite Arsenal goal but perhaps his most satisfying came in 2004.

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Just days before facing title-challengers Chelsea at Highbury, a mischievous Jose Mourinho decided to try and play some mind games as he came up against Arsene Wenger for the first time.

The self-declared 'Special One' said that Henry was only the Premier League's top scorer because he netted against the smaller teams. The cheek of it.

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA

With Mourinho's words stirring in his head, a motivated Henry bagged twice against the Premier League leaders - a trademark left-footed striker and that controversial quickly-taken free-kick.

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Chelsea may have left North London with a point that day thanks to goals from John Terry and Eidur Gudjohnsen but it was Henry's quick thinking that grabbed the headlines.

And that was just in his post-match interview after the full-time whistle.

As you can see in the footage above, the reporter compliments Henry by saying that despite Chelsea's best efforts to stop him in the week, they couldn't.

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"Like everyone says, I always score in small games," Henry responds with a wry smile.

He continues: "I think today must have been a small game again. That's the way it is. I can only try to do my best. Working hard. Learning. Helping everyone. It wasn't enough but like I say, I try to do my best."

Ten years later, when Henry decided to hang up his boots, Mourinho paid tribute to the iconic French striker - and even mentioned that brace against Chelsea at Highbury.

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"I read with some emotion his reaction," Mourinho said after Henry announced his retirement.

"I'm always very sad when the big players stop their careers. But, at the same time, when I read about his wonderful journey and the way he enjoyed his career and the way he looks forward for the rest of his life, I'm happy.

"I think he's a very happy guy, very proud of everything he did. I think he looks forward to the new steps in his life, always connected with football for sure.

"I just want to thank him for the great moments he gave to all of us.

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"Only one moment I didn't enjoy, which was the goal he scored against us when Mr Poll allowed him to take the free-kick when everyone was still preparing.

"Even in that moment, he showed how intelligent he was playing football. So thanks for everything he gave to us, and we wish him the best for the future.

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports/PA

Topics: Chelsea, Football, Premier League, Arsenal, thierry henry

Jack Kenmare
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