After a glittering 20-year career, France and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry yesterday announced his retirement.

He won an impressive array of club trophies including the Premier League, La Liga, FA Cup and the Champions League.

With 123 French caps, he was part of the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship-winning teams.

Those achievements also helped cement his name as a French all-time great.

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Henry has played for some of football’s great teams like Monaco, Juventus, Barcelona and New York Red Bulls.

But he will be most remembered for playing in the red of Arsenal and the blue of France.

He is also the record goalscorer for both club and country with 228 goals for the Gunners and 51 goals for Les Bleus.

In my career I had the pleasure of playing against some of the best strikers in the world of my generation – facing top players like Raul, Shearer, Kluivert, Rivaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But out of everyone I faced, the one that stands above the rest is Thierry Henry.

He was simply unique because as a striker he had it all.

He was super fast, extremely skilful, very clever, great in the air and tough as nails – all in all a cocktail of disaster for any defender.

And I should know as I had to drink it on more than one occasion.

One game in particular stands out, and I think I ended up drinking a double!

On April 16, 2004, the famous Highbury Stadium in North London was the setting for Thierry Henry to put on a masterclass.

I was at Leeds United and we were up against a great Arsenal side that went on to become the ‘Invincibles’.

Leeds, as a team and a club, were struggling, standing 18th in the league.

Our form didn’t bother us going into the game. We were confident as we had won on our previous two visits to Highbury.

But on the day it was all about current form and the form of one man in particular.

Arsenal led after only six minutes through Robert Pires.

It was the Thierry Henry Show after that.

For his first goal he beat a poor attempt at playing offside to run through and slot in.

He scored his second from the penalty spot with a cheeky chip down the middle.

And his third goal was just a foot race between him and me from the halfway line.

I lost, he won and slotted the ball home for his hat-trick.

In my playing days I was very fast and had even beaten Olympic 200m finalist Ade Mafe.

But Thierry Henry left me in his wake and I think he is the only player that has ever done that.

The Frenchman wasn’t settling for a hat-trick though.

He then he picked the ball up just over the halfway line and dribbled past four players before putting it past a helpless Paul Robinson.

He was just amazing, and it was so hard finding the best way to defend against him.

I am honoured to have faced him and battled against him.

He is a true great of the game and deserves all the praise he gets.

Whatever he does in retirement I am sure he will shine and excel.

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