Arsenal: Is Henry is the best player in Europe?

With the Ballon d’Or winner to be officially announced on 27 November, the news has been leaked that Fabio Cannavaro will scoop the award.

While Real Madrid celebrate (albeit a bit prematurely), Arsenal fans are wondering why Thierry Henry wasn’t given the award.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had this to say:

“Congratulations to Cannavaro if that’s the case but for me there’s only one candidate this year and that’s Thierry Henry. He just deserves it. He was the top goalscorer in England, the best player in England, the second-highest goalscorer in Europe behind Luca Toni. He played in the Champions League final and he played in the World Cup final. He lost one on penalties and he lost the other in the last few minutes with 10 men.

Overall I don’t think the fact that a team wins on penalties can make such a difference. When you look at what this guy has achieved in his career as a player, I can tell you there are some players in the Ballon d’Or who have a lot to answer for when you compare them to Thierry Henry.

The only one in contention with [Henry] this year was [Barcelona’s Samuel] Eto’o, who won the Champions League and the Spanish championship. He has more than Thierry but for overall achievement Thierry has done exceptionally well.”

I think Arsene’s got a point about Henry have a great career that deserves proper recognition, but Mr Wenger why bring up the past and shake your spear at it? If you had compared Cannavaro’s career with Henry’s, or given a factual account of what Canna’s achieved, maybe we would have something more solid to go on apart from old-fashioned Arsenal bias?

Arseblog (that famous defender of Arsenal’s virginity (he also hosts a mean podcast, from what I hear)) writes:

I’m firmly of the opinion that they’ll give the award to blind, leprous, hunchbacked, Al-qaeda supporting dwarf before they’ll give it to Thierry. I wish I knew why. He certainly deserved it for the last two seasons ahead of Ronaldinho and although last season wasn’t exactly his best because of our league struggles he still played in the CL final, the World Cup final and scored 33 goals in all competitions (and I don’t know how many he created).

Don’t get me wrong, I think Cannavaro is a brilliant player and he put in some amazing performances during the World Cup. It’s also nice to see a defender get some recognition but I’m not sure what he did over the course of the season compares to what Thierry did.

The captain would be the first one to say he’s not interested in personal awards and that it’s the team that matters but it’s a shame he hasn’t been given the recognition I think most of us would agree he deserves.

Once again, totally agree with the ‘deserving recognition’ bit, but its sour grapes to denigrate past winners. People will slate Michael Owen for not being worthy, but the fact remains that he did do bloody well in the season he got the award. Same goes for Ronaldinho last year and Sheva the year before that.

What I’d like to see (whether from Arsenal fans or from an external source) is an evaluation of what Cannavaro’s done last season, and to compare that with Henry’s contributions.

Henry deserves recognition for what he’s done at Arsenal, but surely not at the expense of someone else who deserves it more?

Or is that impossible to even imagine for an Arsenal fan? Why must Arsenal fans go into conspiracy mode every time?

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