Former Arsenal, France, and Barcelona superstar Thierry Henry has opened up about the pain of retirement, admitting the competitor in him died after he hung up his legendary boots.
Arsenal Ace Henry Struggled To Adjust To Normal Life After Ending Soccer Career
Henry is widely hailed as one of the best players the game has ever seen. He won two Premier League titles with Arsenal, bagged two La Liga titles and a UEFA Champions League with Barcelona, and lifted the FIFA World Cup with France in 1998. The French icon hung up his boots in 2014, following a five-year stint with Major League Soccer (MLS) side New York Red Bulls.
Speaking on the Diary of a CEO podcast, Henry opened up about his struggles with retirement, admitting he felt a part of him seized to exist when he called time on his career.
The four-time Premier League Golden Boot winner said (via The Mirror):
“Well, I knew what to do. Even if it was painful or whatever, I knew what to do. It’s easy for a little while when you have your career. I think you remember as an athlete and I say it and I maintain it…you die when you stop.
“The athlete, the competitor, dies. I can never play again in the Prem, I can never play for France anymore. I don’t care what you say, I can’t play football, not at that level, not competing the way I used to compete.”
“That part of me died. People don’t teach you to die. So now, you are going to face all your problems. Because you could put them on the side when you’re playing games. Because you have other things that will cover that.
“But once everything stops… we’re not used to being at home. We’re not used to dealing with a normal life. Since I was 13, I never had a normal life. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying to go back to the normal world is a shock to the system.”
Henry Is Still Very Much Involved In Soccer
Henry has not played competitively in a decade, but he remains a relevant and important member of the soccer community. He regularly puts his views forward through the CBS Sports Golazo program, emerging as one of the most reasonable and entertaining pundits on the table. He is also serving as France’s U-21 head coach, preparing for the next chapter of his storied career.
Henry is tactically sound, commands his players’ respect, and is a quick learner. If he keeps up his good work with the U-21 team, it will not be surprising to see him succeed Didier Deschamps as the first team’s manager in the coming years.