Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thoughts From Champions League Final 2009 - Part 2

I love sports. I enjoy watching and reading about sports. The artistic expression of human motions, displayed by men and women through their skill to perfection, or otherwise; the sparkles from the interaction amongst individuals as a team, attract my imagination and admiration. But what intrigues me most is the drama from the spirit of humanity going through the challenges of sports. For example, currently in golf, I'm waiting to see how Tiger Woods would reclaim his supremacy after his knee surgery (I'm quite sure he will); in tennis, Roger Federer after his fall of form (him, I'm not so certain). Football? The future direction of Ronaldo (who will most likely leave Manchester United), EPL's (or Ex-EPL's) Newcastles FC. Badminton? Our national team's perennial struggle to climb to the top, of course. Formula 1? The momentum of Ferrari with their recent revival in the just concluded Monte Carlo race, and Brawn GP ability to ride their spectacular waves of success at the top, etc.

I have no fvaourite team in the Champions League Final at Rome a few nights ago, it was an exciting and entertaining game of football to watch. I neither yelled in joy nor cursed in disappointment after the final whistle. But, when I watched Thierry Henry of the winning team dancing in celebration after the final whistle, I was pensive.

Thierry Henry started his professional football career in France, Italy and then England. It was during his spell in England with Arsenal football club that his star as a footballer (no, not soccer player) started to shine brightly.

Thierry Henry developed into a world-class footballer during his times in Arsenal. With Arsenal, he had won all major domestic club titles and set some impressive football records. Coupled with his successful international career, he has in his collection all the winner medals a footballer dreams to have, except one - the European Champions League.

He had his chance in achieving that in the Champions League Final of 2006 in Paris, when Arsenal played Barcelona from Spain. Arsenal lost 2-1 in the rain of Paris. Henry was 29-years old then.

In 2007, Thierry Henry faced a major crossroad in his professional football career. At the age of 30, the possibility of a downhill slide in form is looming. Finding him leading a young squad in Arsenal, dream of laying his hands on the winner medal of the Champions League remained elusive in the short term. In June 2007, when a decision was made, he left England for Spain after 8 years with Arsenal in pursuit of personal glory.

Thierry Henry didn't have a successful first year in Spain with his new team. But this year, his second, with a great team, Thierry Henry finally grabbed the coveted winner medal of Champions League. As I watched him dancing victoriously on the pitch after the final whistle, my eyes was gazing pensively on his shirts, in the colors of Barcelona FC.

The image of him holding the winner cup wearing a shirt of the football club that crushed his dream of glory 3 years ago was fascinating. My fascination of the competition was at its peak during the semi-final stage of the competition. When Arsenal had a chance to meet Barcelona in the final. The prospect of Thierry Henry playing against his old club, which he had no success with in this competition, in the final thrilled me to the tips of my hair. But, the greatest of irony did not materialise ... actually, the greatest irony would be Arsenal making it into the final and beating Barcelona to win the Champions League.

When Arsenal failed to qualify for the final, the whole world knew Thierry Henry made the right decision in 2007. When he wore the winner cup on his head after the final whistle in Rome, Thierry Henry knew his decision was fully justified - in terms of personal glory.

But to me, although he has all the winner medals that he dreamed of in his cabinet now, there's still something lacking in making him a football legend, even though he is undeniably a great footballer.

When he left Arsenal in 2007 for his personal glory, in my humble opinion, he has lost a very holy quality that would make anyone a legend - a holistic ideal. Mind you, I don't think he left without the blessing of his supporters, and he certainly left with the blessing of his then manager and mentor, Arsense Wenger. But chasing personal glory in sacrifice of a team humanized Thierry Henry. The decision swung him away from a potential legend to the worldly status of a great footballer.

If he had stayed, and never won the Champions League title, come close a few more times in winning it, I think he would be more of a football legend than what he has achieved now. Alan Shearer comes to mind - glory to the team before glory to an individual.

But still, congratulations to Thierry Henry to finally achieve his dream. I'm happy for him. But still, I just couldn't stop thinking about the significance of his decision in 2007 to leave his beloved Arsenal in the realm of team sport.

And that's when I think of my Part 1 post about my daughter's incident. Strange?


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4 comments:

lizzie said...

I'm not into football at all, but this was still an interesting and well written post!

Buzzing J said...

lizzie:
Thanks for stopping by. Many more thanks for your feedback.

Nick Phillips said...

Yup, I have to agree with you about Henry. I've been a die hard Arsenal fan for as long as I can remember and I think Henry would have achieved godly status if he had stayed at Arsenal but congrats to him on achieving his personal dream :D

Buzzing J said...

Nick Phillips:
I don't root for any particular team in football. But over the last few years, I was fascinated by Arsenal's development. It will be the team I support to get some form of success next season.

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