The Pain In Spain For Thierry Henry

Edward QuinnCorrespondent IApril 28, 2008

This is not how it was supposed to turn out. One minute you're on top of the world, next you're in the pits. It could happen to anyone, but unfortunately it has happened to Thierry Henry. A move from Arsenal to Barcelona that promised so much has produced little.

What a great shame for the charismatic Frenchman, who's £16.1 million move to Barcelona was supposed to give Barcelona the finished jigsaw in "The Four Fantasticos" (Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and now Thierry Henry).

But what a difference a season can make. After having scored 174 goals in 235 appearances for Arsenal, he has only scored 7 in 22 for Barcelona, and made to play out in the uncomfortable position of wide left by manager Frank Rijkaard for most of the time. It's definitely the case of a big fall after a meteoric rise.

Why has Henry struggled so much? His fitness had been worn out after a troubled injury-filled 2007 with Arsenal. So when he moved to Spain, Henry was still not match fit yet he had to dig deep to play his first few games, but he so often looked like a worn-out battery, not really fit enough to play.

Henry also has had his personal life troubled. He split up with his wife Claire when he moved to Spain, who also had custody of Henry's two year-old daughter, Tea. Henry was quoted on saying on the 13th March: "My daughter is the most important thing in my life. I'm not happy because a father who sees his daughter five times in eight months cannot be." His manager Rijkaard has conceded that Henry's personal situation has been a "difficult thing" for the Frenchman.

These have lead to intense speculation that this season would be Henry's only season in Spain. The tabloids were suggesting that a move back to England woud suffice for the striker who once set the world alight with his mazy dribbling and flair.  Henry conceded that he would ever move back to England if it was for his former team, Arsenal, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been alerted to the Frenchman's state of mind, and is reportedly interested.

What the future holds is uncertain at best. Henry has the rest of the season, in La Liga and in the Champions League, to prove that he can grit it out and bear it at Camp Nou. But where he will go after that, no-one yet knows? All I know is, my sympathies, and the sympathies of Arsenal fans, are with Henry as he struggles to overcome a tough period in his football career.