Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp has spoken of his pride after he attended the unveiling of his bronze statue outside Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Bergkamp joins the likes of Tony Adams and Thierry Henry in being celebrated in this manner by the north London club, with the Dutchman, who joined Arsenal from Inter Milan in 1995 and played more than 400 games for the Gunners, honoured to accept the accolade.
“I spoke to Thierry Henry last night and he warned me about this moment, he said ‘you will be fine until you have to talk a little bit, and you will be emotional’, that happens to me now,” Bergkamp said.
“All this makes you realise how many good years we had here and how big this club has become over the last 20 years. I was just happy to play a role in that.
“You all see me as a team player, and there is only one statue of me, but I believe it is part of a whole team that I was involved in which made me shine.
“When you think of that team, it is not only the quality players around you, it is the fantastic manager, the staff around the club.
“I would like to thank my friends and family as well, they have been there from the beginning in my career -- thank you to Henrita, my wife.
“We made this adventure together and have four beautiful children who were all born in England.
“Last but not least, I had a very good relationship with the fans. You were very patient with me. In the first six or seven games of my career, a lot of people spoke about that, is he good or not? Can he do it?
“We proved them all wrong and are where we are now, and it is all down to the fans because you had belief in me, in the team, so this is how it ends with a beautiful statue.”
Bergkamp went on to confirm he would relish the chance to return to Arsenal at some point in the future, as he eyes a coaching role with the club.
“I have just started my career at Ajax as an assistant coach, being part of the Ajax philosophy, trying to get players through the system,” he added.
“We just started that, so I don’t think now is the time to leave that aside and do something else, but in the future I would love to come to this country, to this league and this club especially.”