Former Chelsea Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini has revealed that he used to ‘fear’ playing against Arsenal because of Thierry Henry.

Cudicini spent nine years at Stamford Bridge between 2000 and 2009, though he was displaced by Petr Cech after he was signed.

After spells at Tottenham and LA Galaxy, the 48-year-old has now returned to Chelsea as a loan player technical coach.
Cudicini, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Aston Villa v Chelsea, spoke of his time playing against those players and said: “I had the pleasure of playing alongside one of the best Premier League strikers of all-time in Didier Drogba; I had to face him every single day in training and it’s so easy to see why he’s so highly rated.

“I then played against him in the FA Cup when I signed for Tottenham – he scored against me in the semi-final. Having trained with him for all those years at Chelsea, I can only sympathize with every goalkeeper who has ever had to face him.

“Aside from my teammates, it’s hard not to mention Ruud van Nistelrooy when I think about the toughest opponents I’ve come up against. He just had this unbelievable way of always seeming to be on the end of any ball that was put into the box. Somehow he was always in the right position, and that’s what made him so special.”

Cudicini then revealed just how highly he thought of legendary Arsenal striker Henry, who scored eight goals in 10 league appearances against Chelsea.


He continued: “For me, the one name I’m not afraid to say I feared was Thierry Henry. A lot of people don’t like to use the word ‘fear’ in football, but I absolutely hated playing against Henry. He was a genius in so many ways; he was so unpredictable and so difficult to read.

“His speed and intelligence were second to none; he had everything. At that time, it was Arsenal and Chelsea who were always battling it out at the top of the table, so whenever we played them it was a huge occasion, and you just knew he was the sort of player who thrived under those circumstances.

“I played quite a few times against him and I don’t think I’ve come up against anyone better.”

Henry scored 175 goals over the course of 258 league appearances.

He left Arsenal in 2007 for Barcelona where he won the treble under Pep Guardiola in the 2008/2009 season.



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