Thierry Henry says that despite the narrative comparing him with Ruud van Nistelrooy, his focus was always more on the team than the Golden Boot.

MANCHESTER - DECEMBER 11:  Ruud Van Nistelrooy of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his first goal during the Manchester United v Deportivo La Coruna UEFA Champions League, Phase 2, Group D match at Old Trafford on December 11, 2002 in Manchester, England.  Manchester United won the match 2-0. (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER: Ruud Van Nistelrooy of Manchester United celebrates after scoring on December 11, 2002. (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)

Speaking in an Instagram Live, Thierry Henry discussed the Golden Boot rivalry between himself and Ruud van Nistelrooy. In the United striker’s five years at the club, Henry won the award four times, whilst van Nistelrooy won it in 2002/03.

It became a common theme as the seasons went by. Which one of the two would win this year? Henry says it was about more than that for him, though.

“It became a story between me & him because it was always him or me but I don’t know if you remember I used to give penalties away,” Henry pointed out.

“When Edu played his last game for Arsenal & I was battling van Nistelrooy for the Golden Boot I gave him (Edu) the penalty.”

The game in question was Edu’s last home game against Everton. The Gunners won 7-0, and they were already 4-0 up when they won a penalty.

Henry let Edu take it, even though the Frenchman was struggling for fitness at the time and running low on opportunities to increase his goal tally. The Arsenal striker still finished as top scorer by a margin of four goals.

ljungberg henry hattrick 2003
SUNDERLAND: Freddie Ljungberg of Arsenal celebrates the second goal with Thierry Henry in May 2003. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Henry continued: “If you look at the number of assists I gave in the game and sometimes I was in front of the goal and still squared it. I wouldn’t have all those assists if I was only just thinking about the Golden Boot.”

This was most evident in the 2002/03 season. Henry finished the campaign with 24 goals, just one behind van Nistelrooy, who won the Golden Boot. But Henry also provided 20 assists, the most ever in a single Premier League season.

If he decided to go for goal and score instead of laying it off just once, he’d have another Golden Boot. But that wasn’t the way that Arsenal team tended to do things.