Arsenal Legend, Henry Names Taribo West Toughest Defender He Faced
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By Amaechi Agbo
Thierry Henry, Arsenal legend and World Cup winner with France, has named former Super Eagles defender, Taribo West as the toughest defender he ever faced throughout his illustrious football career.
Henry, 44, won the 1998 World Cup with France national team after they hosted the event and established himself as a true Arsenal legend with highest goals scored.
The former striker now turned pundit made the disclosure while speaking on CBS Sports’ In The Mixer during Tuesday’s Champions League analysis.
The Arsenal record goalscorer, who is rated as one of the most lethal forwards of all time, admits West, now a pastor, was a thorn in the flesh each time he faced the Nigerian defender.
The Champions League winner with Barcelona named former Manchester United playmaker Paul Scholes as an indirect player he found difficult to play against but named West, former Inter Milan defender as the player o did not like to play against.
“Toughest as an indirect opponent? Or just a guy you don’t like to play against? Paul Scholes.
“For the direct opponent, I would go back in the days – Taribo West.
He added that Taribo West was used to man mark him while he was in Auxerre including following him to the dressing room
“Because [at Auxerre], they did man-marking. He followed you everywhere, even in the dressing room.”
Both Henry and West featured prominently in the French Ligue 1 in their active days with the ex-striker wearing the colours of AS Monaco while the hard-as-nails Nigerian defender featured prominently on the books of Auxerre.
West and Henry were at opposing ends again in the Italian Serie A where the striker was with Juventus while the defensive lynchpin was plying his trade at Inter Milan.
Before drawing the curtain on his career in 2007, the Nigerian also represented AC Milan, Derby County, Kaiserslautern, Partizan, Al-Arabi, Plymouth Argyle, and Iranian side Paykan.
Famous for his hard-tackling and rugged style, West registered 42 appearances for the Super Eagles between 1994 and 2005; attending two editions of the World Cup in France and Japan/Korea in 2002.
West was also part of the Nigerian side that won the gold medal in the football event of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
While West has since become a pastor with his own church, Henry has moved into coaching and punditry.