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Four-goal Faris dreams of AFC Cup final

By ESPN Staff

Henry makes history with hat-trick of FWA awards

Thierry Henry tonight became the first player to receive the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year Award three times.

The Arsenal captain collected the accolade at a gala dinner held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, with England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson among those in attendance.

It has been a superb season for the 28-year-old France striker, who broke Arsenal's all-time goalscoring record and has led the Gunners into next Wednesday's Champions League final against Barcelona in Paris.

On receiving the award, Henry explained his appreciation of the English approach to football.

He said: 'I really hope that you can have another 1966 happen to you. I see the passion you have here for your national team and how much you want them to win.

'You are a nation who loves sport and football and I hope you win the World Cup again because you deserve it. People like you deserve to win it.'

It was the third time Henry picked up the Football Writers' Award, and he continued: 'I am very happy to make history here. My dad was pretty harsh when I was young and he told me never to be satisfied with what I had.

'I am still not satisfied. It is difficult for me to explain how I feel tonight. It's amazing for me to come here and win this award for a third time.'

Henry, who joined Arsenal in 1999, revealed that he now considers London his true home.

He added: 'People have a go at me in France because when I mention home I mention London. In this country you live and breathe football and that is something that is missing sometimes.

'Some youngsters do not love the game any more. They love what is around the game, but not the game itself. But you always have to have respect for the game and the game will give you something back as it has given me back something today.'

The Arsenal captain was the top scorer in the Premiership this season with 27 goals and topped this year's poll of journalists, ahead of Chelsea skipper John Terry, with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney third.

When the results had been announced earlier this month, Henry reflected: 'What I am especially proud of is that I am the first person to win the Footballer of the Year trophy three times.

'It is always pleasing to be the first to achieve something - it is a little piece of history.

'My hope now is that the team goes on to create history of their own by becoming the first ever Arsenal side to win the Champions League.'

FWA chairman Paul Hetherington commented: 'Henry is a deserving winner in a season when there have been several outstanding candidates.

'Henry's achievement ranks him up there as the greatest player in the 59-year history of the award.'