THIERRY HENRY fought back tears as he opened up over his battle with depression and traumatic childhood. The Arsenal legend also revealed he cried “every day” in an emotional interview.
Henry, 46, won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups during an incredible 226 goal spell at Highbury. He went on to enjoy league and European success at Barcelona. And Henry now manages France’s Under-21s after stints with Monaco, Montreal Impact and Belgium.
But speaking in a interview recently, Henry lifted the lid on his secret battle with depression. The World Cup winner with France revealed: “Throughout my career, I must have been in depression.
“Did I know it? No. Did I do something about it? Obviously no. But I had adapted in a certain way.
“I was lying for a very long time because society wasn’t ready to hear what I had to say.”
Henry also revealed he cried every day during the Covid lockdown while being away from his family as he managed Canadian side Montreal.
He continued: “Everything came at once, especially during the Covid time. I knew it before but I was lying to myself. I was making sure those feelings weren’t going too far, I put the ‘cape’ on. But when you’re not a player anymore, you can’t put that ‘cape’ on anymore.
“We tend to run instead of facing our problems, that is what we do all the time. We try to stay busy, we try to avoid the problem or not think about it.
“Covid happened and I asked ‘why are you running, what are you doing?’ I was isolated and not being able to see my kids for a year was tough. I don’t even need to explain that one. Something like that had to happen to me to understand vulnerability, empathy, crying. Understand that emotions are emotions. Anger is normal but don’t become angry. Jealousy is normal but don’t become jealous.
“I was crying almost every day for no reason, tears were coming. I don’t know why but maybe they were waiting for a very long time.
“I don’t know whether that needed to come out. It was weird, but in a good way. There was stuff I couldn’t control and I didn’t try to.
“You have been told since you’re young, whether at home or in your job, ‘don’t be that guy, don’t show you’re vulnerable. If you cry, what are they going to think?’
“I was crying but, technically, it was the young Thierry crying. He was crying for everything he didn’t get.”
Henry opened up too on the pressure he felt while playing a youngster in front of his dad.
Henry added: “I left my house when I was 13, people don’t realise that. You’re already dealing with the pressure of succeeding.
“I was 15 and you can already see if someone is good or not good. We won 6-0 and I scored six goals. I knew the aura of my dad, I could tell if the man was happy or not.
“I turned around, I can tell you from any posture whether he was happy or not happy. We arrived in the car, there is silence. I am like, shall I talk or not talk? That was how we were.
“He said: ‘Are you happy?’ Should I answer? ‘Yeah’. ‘Yeah but you shouldn’t be because you missed that goal, missed that cross, whatever.’
“We arrived at my mum’s house, I’m walking like this [head down] and she asked: ‘Did you lose?’ It was often like that.”
Thierry Henry reveals he knew his career was over after heartbreaking moment with his daughter
Henry knew his career was over after a heartbreaking moment with his daughter. The former Arsenal forward hung up his boots in 2015 at the age of 37.
He has now revealed that a long-term Achilles problem contributed to his decision to retire.
Henry explained he knew his career was over after an incident with his daughter whilst playing for the New York Red Bulls.
The Frenchman admitted: “Yeah there was a day, and you might laugh. But my daughter was at home in New York. I suffered from an Achilles problem for more than 10 years both sides. I was in pain every morning, really, pain, the pain was never going away all day, both sides, both of my Achilles.
“Sometimes, I felt a bit better, sometimes not but every morning, I was in pain, afternoon, night, for 10 years.”
Henry continued: “So I’m at home with my daughter and she comes close to me, touches me and goes ‘you’re it,’ and she ran.
“I wanted to run, I couldn’t. I wanted to run but I couldn’t. I looked at her and said ‘Hey you won’. I couldn’t chase her.
“I stopped and went ‘What are you doing?’ Like, I just couldn’t, I’m not even joking Steven, she ran and I just couldn’t move. That’s when I knew, I couldn’t handle pain anymore.
“This is what it is, forget about anything you can think of. You need to love pain to be an athlete.
“And I know no pain no these whatever, no, this is real, you need to love pain. If not, stay where you are.”
As for how he felt after retiring, Henry added: “I was in a way happy because I stopped.
“People stopped because of injuries, some people stopped because of different stuff, I stopped, it was on my terms, I stopped. I knew I could still play, but I stopped.”
The 46-year-old’s club career included spells with Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona and New York Red Bulls.
He retired with 360 goals and 177 assists in 794 club appearances, as well as winning league titles in France, England and Spain.
Henry was also part of the Barcelona side which won the Champoin League in 2009.
For France, he scored 51 times in 123 caps, winning both the World Cup and Euros with Les Bleus.
Since retiring, Henry has turned to punditry and coaching, serving as France’s under 21-s boss since August.