The Arsenal FC striker Thierry Henry has ended speculation over his future by announcing that he is staying with the UEFA Champions League runners-up having agreed a new four-year contract.
The French international, whose current deal was due to expire at the end of next season, had been strongly linked with a move to FC Barcelona, who beat Arsenal 2-1 in Wednesday's final in Paris, but has now finally decided to remain in London. "I am staying here to play for the club that I love," he confirmed. "We've done amazing things since I joined, but there's been a lot of speculation recently and maybe people thought that I was going to leave. At one point it did cross my mind but I think with my heart and that told me to stay.
'More than amazing'
"Over the past year and even before the love that the fans showed me was more than amazing," he went on. "After the way that we lost on Wednesday I couldn't let them down. We can be so proud of what we did and it reassured me of how far I can go with this team. All together the players showed me they have heart and a lot of quality. The love that I have here - even from some non-Arsenal fans - isn't something to forget about. It's difficult to leave a country like England - the passion is amazing."
The 28-year-old joined Arsenal from Juventus in 1999 and scored his 200th goal for the London club last season, making him their leading scorer of all time. He was named the English Footballer of the Year last month, the third time he has won the award, and scored a hat-trick against Wigan Athletic FC on the final day of the Premiership season in the last match at Highbury. He should now lead the team out in the first game at their new home at nearby Ashburton Grove next season.
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