Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has opened up on his goalscoring rivalry with Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Rio Ferdinand revealed his former Manchester United teammate became obsessed with beating Thierry Henry to the top of the Premier League goal scoring charts.
The two strikers who will go down in English football folklore shared five consecutive seasons in the Premier League.
Henry came out on top in Van Nistelrooy’s first year at Old Trafford but the Dutchman claimed his first Golden Boot in 2003 when the Red Devils reclaimed the Premier League title.
However, the Arsenal great won the next three meaning he got the better of Van Nistelrooy in four out of five seasons.
Henry was asked about the rivalry on an Instagram Live with Puma Football. He said: “It became a story between me and him because it was always him or me, but I don’t know if you remember I used to give penalties away. I used to give penalties away!
“When Edu played his last game for Arsenal and I was battling with Ruud van Nistelrooy for the Golden Boot I gave him the penalty.
“It’s because you ask me the question don’t get me wrong…but if you look at the number of my assists I gave in the game and sometimes I was in front of the goal and I squared it.
“I would not have all those assists if I was only just thinking about the Golden Boot.”
Henry, who is now boss at Montreal Impact, did admit it wasn’t a failure to score that would anger him, but a failure to help his team.
“I was upset if I didn’t give an assist or I didn’t score,” added Henry.
“Then I felt I didn’t help my team. Sometimes you can be amazing in a game without a goal and assist, sometimes really poor with a goal and assist so it depends on what people value.
“If I didn’t help my team in any shape that’s when I come on the bus and put my head down, maybe saying stuff I shouldn’t be saying because I get upset with myself.
“There’s a game in Sunderland where we were sure to be in Champions League and I gave Ljungberg three assists in the game and Ruud passed me with a goal.
“I could be greedy and play for myself but that’s how the game is. Ruud was an amazing striker, I had so many battles with him, he was a striker playing in an amazing team.”