The former French international remains one of the finest strikers of his generational, but he met more than his match in one of Nigeria’s most notorious no-nonsense defenders
Super Eagles great Taribo West has reacted to Barcelona and Arsenal great Thierry Henry naming him the most formidable defender he ever came across.
Soccernet.ng earlier reported that Henry surprisingly picked Taribo West as the most difficult opponent he ever faced in his career.
Widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever strikers, Henry played against some notable defenders on the road to scoring 360 club goals for Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, and RB New York.
But he never got the best of West in the few times their paths crossed.
When Henry was at Monaco, where he won the Ligue 1 in 1997, the 1998 World Cup winner failed to score in three league meetings with Auxerre’s West.
West and Henry never faced off during their stints at Inter Milan and Juventus, as well as at Derby County and Arsenal, respectively.
But the 1996 Olympic gold medalist had left a lasting impression on the two-time European Golden Shoe winner.
While recounting to The Punch his toughest duels with the Frenchman, West admitted that Henry was among the best forwards he had squared up against.
The former AC Milan star, however, derived pleasure in knowing that he had been a nightmare for the greatest Arsenal player of all time.
“Henry was one of the toughest strikers I played against,” West said.
“Throughout my sojourn in Europe, I don’t think I slept; I was always calculating ahead of the next striker I would play against.
“To play in the French topflight then as a defender, you must be very good because all the teams had first-class strikers. Go to Italy, England, and Germany; it was the same. I was one of the outstanding defenders.
“There were very few attackers that passed me one-on-one to score; they were very few. Henry was one of the emerging stars then, and when Auxerre played against Monaco, I always breathed down his neck.
“I made him shiver, like they were pouring snow on him. That’s why he said I was the toughest defender he played against.”
West enjoyed a brilliant 13-year career in Europe featuring for the likes of Auxerre, Inter Milan, AC Milan, and Germany’s FC Kaiserslautern before finally retiring in 2007.