|© UNICEF UK/2006/Burmiston|
|Thierry Henry has received the French player of the year award four times.|
Considered by many to be the most prolific scorer in football, Thierry Henry hails from France, but in England he is Arsenal’s most feared weapon. A striker striking fear in the hearts of defenders across the English Premier League, he currently plays for the French national team and for Arsenal, where he is the all-time leading goal scorer.
Beyond his football heroics, Mr. Henry has also served as a role model to many young children and adolescents facing hardship. He joined other professional football stars on behalf of UNICEF and FIFA in a series of TV spots seen by hundreds of millions of fans around the world during the 2002 World Cup. In these spots, the players promoted football, the world's greatest passion, as a game that must be played on behalf of its greatest resource, children.
Mr. Henry is rejoining the UNICEF-FIFA squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where he will once again help to promote an important message about the beneficial relationship between children and football.
Heroics on and off the field
Brought up through the heralded ranks of the French National Soccer Academy, Mr. Henry began his professional career playing briefly with AS Monaco when he was just 17. In 1998, he exploded onto the international scene, playing for France in the World Cup. He was the top scorer for his nation that year. Subsequently, he was awarded France’s Legion d’Honneur. His skillful display in the 1998 World Cup caught the attention of the international Italian heavyweight club, Juventus, and he shipped off to Italy in 1999. After a short stint with the Italian squad, he made his way back across the Channel to play for the renowned Arsenal.
In his new role as centre forward, Mr. Henry flourished into one of the game’s greatest players. For seven straight seasons, he has led Arsenal in scoring, and is often spoken of as the best striker Arsenal has even seen.
Mr. Henry’s feats have netted him high honours year after year. In 2004 and 2005 he was named runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year. He has been recognized by the Football Writers’ Association as Footballer of the Year on three occasions, the first player ever to do so in the history of the award, and he was also the proud recipient of French Player of the Year honours on four occasions. Perhaps most prestigious of all, he is a back-to-back winner of the Golden Boot award (for the top goal scorer in Europe) in 2004 and 2005 and winner of the Golden Boot award (for the top goal scorer in the English Premiership) in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006, the first player ever to win it three years in succession.
In addition to his heroics on the field, Mr. Henry has taken up an imperative cause off the field: fighting racism. His ‘Stand up, speak up’ campaign raises money for organizations that combat intolerance. The campaign has galvanized millions of football fans and has raised nearly $6 million towards the cause.