Thierry Henry joined Barcelona with the blessing of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Following the completion of Henry’s £16.15 million move to Camp Nou on Monday afternoon, Wenger told the club’s official website: “It was Thierry’s decision to leave Arsenal but he goes with my blessing. On behalf of everyone at the club, we wish him the very best for the future.”
Henry joined the Gunners from Juventus for £10.5million in August 1999 and went on to score a club record 226 goals in an Arsenal shirt, winning Premier League titles, FA Cups and a host of individual honours along the way.
Wenger has no doubt that the French striker, 29, will enter Arsenal folklore as one of the greatest players ever to have represented the north London club.
He added: “Thierry has been tremendous for us since he arrived in 1999. He has excelled both as part of a team and individually. In short, he has become an Arsenal legend.
“Personally, I would like to thank Thierry for the huge contribution he has made to the club’s success over the past eight years.
“To his great credit, he has mixed skill and style together with an appetite for winning.
“This wonderful combination was integral to our historical 49 games unbeaten run and all the honours he won at Arsenal, together with Thierry becoming the club’s record goalscorer – an achievement which in my view is unlikely to be surpassed.”
Henry himself said he would always have a good relationship with Wenger, whom he hoped would stay at Arsenal for as long as possible.
“If he goes it will be very difficult – but I can’t talk for someone else.
“The relationship I had with Arsene was out of this world – you can’t imagine. I was talking to him about private stuff, about anything.
“That relationship goes beyond me going to Barcelona. We didn’t have a fight [about Henry leaving].
“We sat down and talked and we both respected each other and my relationship with him will always remain whatever happens.”
“I have to show respect to Arsenal, that’s why before I left I went to talk to the website. I wanted to be genuine and speak the truth.
“Hopefully they will appreciate what I have done there and I have certainly enjoyed my time over there.
“I always said that if I ever left Arsenal it would have been to play for Barcelona. I am here right now, no disrespect to anybody but that was my choice.
“The way Barcelona play football, the fans, just being here and seeing what I’m noticing right now, it’s outstanding. It was always in my mind if I was going to leave it would be for Barcelona Football Club.”