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Sport: Thierry Henry £4m (N1.16bn) a year as analyst with Sky sports makes him best-paid pundit on TV

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While some athletes are unheard of again once they retire, the case of former Arsenal striker and French national, Thierry Henry — who retired from football in December 2014 — is not like that.
Announcing his retirement, he had said, “The decision was not too hard, to be honest. It is hard to leave the game you love and everything you used to do on a daily basis. But I am pleased with what I’ve done and I’ve got no regrets. Things happen for a reason. It’s hard and not hard.
“I love the game and I still think I can give a lot to the game. I’m retiring and I’m not yet involved with any team. In the meantime, I can give back to the game on TV and make people understand some stuff they maybe don’t already. The job of an analyst is to make people understand in a simple way what the game means. It will be our job to make sure we bring the game closer to people.”
Henry was a highly successful player during his time in the world of football, and even now that he’s out of the field, he has shown no sign of slowing down.
Few days after his retirement, the Frenchman joined Sky Sports as a football expert and ambassador on a six-year deal that was reportedly worth £24m (N6.96bn), making him the highest-paid pundit on television.
By implication, he will be paid £4m (N1.16bn) per year and over £300,000 (N97m) per month.
His £4m-a-year deal is said to dwarf that of a colleague, Gary Neville, a former Manchester United player, who is believed to be paid £1.2m (N348m)  annually or £100,000 (N29m) monthly.
Interestingly, Sky Sports was not the only media house that was interested in signing Henry, but also the BBC.
Fortunately for him, his deal with Sky Sports does not stop him from also working with the BBC, according to the agreement signed.
“The terms of Henry’s mega-deal still allow him to work for the BBC at major tournaments,” Daily Telegraph UK reported.
The report added, “He will join former Manchester United defender, Gary Neville, and ex-Liverpool star, Jamie Carragher, as an expert analyser and co-commentator, but will also act as a Sky ambassador and will lead their biggest advertising and marketing campaigns.”
Successful striker
Thierry Daniel Henry, born on August 17, 1977, is a retired French professional footballer who played as a forward. He was raised in Les Ulis, Essonne, a suburb of Paris, France.
He played for Monaco, Juventus (Italy), Barcelona (Spain), New York Red Bulls (the United States) and spent eight years at Arsenal (London), where he is the club’s all-time record goalscorer. At the international level, he represented France and is his country’s record goalscorer.
Up till now, Henry is Arsenal’s all-time record scorer with 228 goals and also holds the record for scoring the most goals for the French national team after netting 51 goals for his country.
After joining Arsenal from Juventus in 1999, he made a total of 376 appearances for the North London club and won two Premier League titles, spearheading the 2003/04 Invincibles team, and three FA Cups.
Henry’s achievements at Arsenal were honoured in 2011, when the club unveiled a statue of him outside the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal longtime manager, Arsene Wenger, paid tribute to Henry at the ceremony to mark the statue by saying, “He is a player who had everything you dream of as a manager — physical potential, a technical level, super intelligence and, what people also forget for many top-level athletes, he was dedicated to his job, with a very serious life. He is simply a model professional who won everything you can in our world. Thierry, you were really special.”
Henry moved to Barcelona from Arsenal in 2007 and won two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey and the 2008/09 Champions League with the Spanish club.
With France, he lifted the 1998 World Cup and won the European Championships two years later.
At the New York Red Bulls, which he joined in 2010, Henry made 135 appearances and scored 52 goals, returning briefly to Arsenal in the 2011/12 season during the MLS break.
Off the pitch, Henry has been an active campaigner against racism in football – partially due to his own experiences.
Style of play
One of the reasons cited for Henry’s impressive play is his ability to calmly score from one-on-ones.
According to his father, Antoine, Henry picked up his precision shooting from watching his idol, Marco van Basten.
He was also influenced by Romário, Ronaldo and George Weah, a breed of strikers in the 1990s who also operated outside the penalty area before running with the ball towards goal.
At his physical peak from the late 1990s to the mid 2000s, Henry’s ability to dribble past opponents with exceptional pace, skill and composure, meant that he could get in behind defenders regularly enough to score.
In 2004, former Arsenal striker, Alan Smith, commented on Henry, “I have to say I haven’t seen a player like him. He’s an athlete with great technical ability and a tremendous desire to be the best.”
Henry also emerged consistently as one of Europe’s most prolific strikers. In set pieces, he was the first-choice penalty and free kick taker for Arsenal, having scored regularly from those positions.
Net worth and lifestyle
For a hardworking man like Henry, it is not surprising that he lives the kind of lifestyle he wants.
Sometime in July 2015, he was seen with his partner, Andrea Rajacic, at the Wimbledon to watch a semi-final game between Novac Djokovic and Richard Gasquet, which the former won.
Worth about $65m (N13bn), Henry owns an amazing penthouse in a New York building.
He shelled out an initial $9m (N1.8bn) for the top two floors of the beautiful building in hip Soho and then also paid $5.85m (N1.17bn) for the apartment in the floor below his penthouse.
The stunning 5,607 square feet apartment — along with another 4,500 square feet of outdoor space, including a bamboo garden — is in the Nolita area which has stars — Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, Courtney Love and Nicole Kidman — as former residents.
City documents show Henry’s penthouse has 17ft floor-to-ceiling windows, an open chef’s kitchen, a media room with wet bar, 72” built-in flat screen with surround sound and stereo.
The master bedroom has two separate his and hers dressing rooms with their own ‘rain’ showers — perfect for the ex-sportsman and his Bosnian model partner, Rajacic.
Henry drives some of the world’s most luxurious supercars, including a Mercedes Benz SLK 350, a Bentley Continental coupe and an Aston Martin Vanquish.

Credit: Punch
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