With a statue of his likeness just a few hundred feet away, Thierry Henry added yet another layer to his invincible legacy at Arsenal FC on Monday.
In his first appearance for his former club on loan from the New York Red Bulls, Henry entered Arsenal's FA Cup match against Leeds United at Emirates Stadium in the 68th minute and quickly assumed a familiar role.
Just 10 minutes after coming on, the Gunners legend deftly controlled Alex Song’s through ball with one touch and curled a low shot underneath the goalkeeper and inside the far post to give Arsenal a 1-0 victory.
With 59,615 fans celebrating what ended up being a storybook homecoming, the lanky Frenchman celebrated his historic goal by skipping toward the corner flag before making a beeline to embrace Arsene Wenger on the Arsenal bench.
The goal was Henry’s 227th in all competitions for the Gunners, extending his own club record. Arsenal advanced to the next round of the FA Cup, in which they will face Aston Villa at the Emirates later this month.
David Beckham, who is currently in negotiations to return to the LA Galaxy after a mooted move to Paris-Saint Germain fell through, was also in attendance at the Emirates, flashing a vintage smile as Henry scored the game’s only goal and caromed around the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal faithful.
Henry is scheduled to remain at Arsenal for six weeks before returning to the Red Bulls during the MLS preseason. While on loan to the North Londoners, he will be available for an EPL clash with Manchester United and a Champions League knockout-round date with AC Milan, among others.
The French legend also scored on his New York debut in July 2010, redirecting Joel Lindpere’s pass into the back of the net against Tottenham in the Barclays New York Challenge. He led the Red Bulls with 14 goals in 2011.