Thierry Henry’s six-month spell with Juventus is an oft-forgotten chapter of the Frenchman’s storied career, so why didn’t things click in Turin?
After an exciting start to his career with Monaco, the French forward joined the Old Lady in January 1999 in a deal worth around £10.5m. Much was expected of the emerging talent, who had netted 20 goals in 105 league games in France, but he initially failed to impress after arriving in the North West of Italy.
Reflecting on his time in Turin when speaking to Reuters in 2011, Henry explained why his start to life with Juventus didn’t go to plan.
“It was one of Juve’s worst seasons. When I arrived the team was ninth in the league and we finished sixth, there were a lot of problems in the club.
“Lippi wanted to play me as a centre forward, I remember the first two games when I arrived he put me on the bench but every time I came on it was as a centre-forward.”
Lippi was dismissed by Juventus in February 1999 and was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, who switched Henry’s role from centre forward to left winger.
“Ancelotti arrived and I played the remainder of the season on the left and at the very beginning I kind of struggled, I had to get used to the pace of the league, I had just arrived and a new position – we were playing 3-5-2 and so I had to cover the whole left side.”
Henry took a few weeks to finally adapt to the Juventus left wing but eventually things started to look positive, culminating in a brace against Lazio in mid-April. By now, the Frenchman was beginning to excite and fans were quickly won over.
This positive momentum unfortunately didn’t last, with an incident occurring between Henry and one of the management staff at Juventus. It proved to be enough to push him out the door and the forward left for Arsenal that summer.
“I started to play well, scoring and creating goals, then something happened with me and one of the bosses there and I decided to leave.
“I was actually happy, it was a great team, a great family but something happened that I didn’t like and it was time to go and to meet again with Arsene.”