It is with a heavy heart that all of us bid a farewell to you. Your 8 years at Arsenal have been years filled with joys and emotions. That dipping shot against Manchester, the hat-trick against Liverpool, the brilliant goal against Madrid and several other sublime moments have all been etched into our memories forever. Your leave marks the end of the era of the “Invincibles”. You were the last great one from that time.
What you have done for us in these years is remarkable. You are the top goal scorer for Arsenal. You have won various honours. But that is not what endears you to us. We love you because you were a leader, motivaor and above all a winner. It is only fitting that you scored a hat-trick in our last match at Highbury. Not only Arsenal but the entire English Premier League will feel your loss. Your prolific form has earned you grudging admiration from the supporters of many other clubs.
The reason you left is an open secret. You have won all the major trophies a footballer could have wanted to achieve over the years. The World cup, The European cup, The Premier league, the FA cup……… everything except the Champions league. You believe that the main reason we have failed to claim that title year after year, is because the Arsenal board does not empty its pockets to buy superstars. It is also true that you did everything possible to help us get so close to that elusive dream of European gold in 2006. We can understand that it is this dream which has prompted you to take this, what seems to us, rather drastic step.
But let it be known that we bid you adieu, not with hatred, but with wistful sadness. We see you leave English soil for the warmth of Spain saddened that we could not hang on to you. Though we would have loved to see you retire as an Arsenal player, we could also never hold you back from realizing your dreams. Because we love you and we wish you to succeed at whatever you set out to accomplish.
However let it also be known that we, as a team will, come out of this dark tunnel. The end of an era is merely the beginning of another one. We shall rebuild and we shall endure. We might not be invincible anymore, but we shall work towards reclaiming that title. As for Europe, is there any fortress that has never yet fallen?
I will not blame anybody for your decision. It was something that was waiting to occur.
At Arsenal you always were and will remain King. Your absence will make us look for someone to take your place but we will surely never see anyone like you ever again.
We will miss your celebrations, we will miss your free kicks, we will miss your dribbling but what we will miss most is the voice of the commentator shouting, “Hennnnnrrrrrrrryyyyyy. One – Nil to Arsenal”
Bonne Chance King.