ON THIS DAY in 2006, Thierry Henry did something extremely Thierry Henry.
The French forward, then the Arsenal captain, was spearheading the Gunners’ attempt to win a first Champions League trophy in their history – a journey which would take them all the way to the final.
Although drawing the then 9-time champions, Real Madrid in the last 16, was less than ideal for Arsene Wenger’s side. Against a star-studded line-up that saw Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Iker Casillas, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham take the field for Los Blancos, the North Londoners made it a brilliant contest.
Tight in the number of clear cut chances, the first half ended nil-nil and as the second kicked off, many would have expected a similarly cagey affair. However, when Henry got the ball just inside his opponents half, shrugged off Ronaldo and began to get into his full stride, the scoreboard was about to change.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 21, 2019
Past Zidane and Beckham, Arsenal’s number 14 ran on until he entered the box, TV commentators across the world cutting their introductions to the second half short. With a left-footed finish, he beat Casillas, sprinting away in celebration with the momentum he’d picked up. It was a glorious goal on a glorious occasion, as Henry produced a moment of individual brilliance in a stadium of ninety-thousand people.
A goalless second leg at Highbury, in this, Arsenal’s last season at their famous old home ground, was enough to see the Gunners through to what was a historic European run, if not an ultimately glorious one.