Henry readies for ‘strange’ Arsenal homecoming

BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona striker Thierry Henry is finally getting used to the idea he will face former team Arsenal, although the France international admits it will be a “strange” homecoming.

By (AP)

Published: Sun 28 Mar 2010, 6:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:21 AM

European champion Barcelona travels to north London on Wednesday for the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, a return Henry said will be tinged with emotion.

“I’m emotional but also calm. It’s going to be a strange game for me,” Henry said in an interview published Sunday on Barcelona’s Web site. “Before the draw I said I didn’t want to face Arsenal. But that’s the game we got and you have to play your best.”

Henry hasn’t been back to Emirates Stadium since his departure in the summer of 2007. After eight years at Arsenal, Henry left as the team’s all-time leading goalscorer having won two league trophies and three FA Cups.

Henry doesn’t know how he will be received, although a warm welcome is likely after his stellar stint with the Gunners.

“I think people can understand my decision” to leave, Henry said. “I don’t know how the people will react. But I had a particular relationship with the Arsenal fans.”

The 32-year-old Frenchman expects to be a factor in the two-legged series due to recently improved form after being left out of coach Pep Guardiola’s lineup for much of the start of 2010. He stopped short of backing Barcelona as the favorite, however.

“Look what happened with Lyon and Madrid or CSKA Moscow and Sevilla. I’d say there’s no favorite,” Henry said. “It will be difficult.”

Henry does believe it’s easier for a visiting team to play at Emirates Stadium than at Arsenal’s old Highbury ground, where “you felt the fans more.”

Henry also recalled his worst Arsenal memory — losing the 2006 Champions League final to Barcelona.

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