Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry has stepped down as coach of MLS side CF Montreal, the club announced on Thursday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to take this decision,” Henry said in a press release. “The last year has been an extremely difficult one for me personally. Due to the worldwide pandemic, I was unable to see my children.

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“Unfortunately due to the ongoing restrictions and the fact that we will have to relocate to the U.S. again for several months will be no different. The separation is too much of a strain for me and my kids. Therefore, it is with much sadness that I must take the decision to return to London and leave CF Montreal.”

Henry was named Montreal coach in November of 2019, signing a two-year contract with club. He led Montreal to the MLS Cup playoffs last season fr the first time since 2016.

“Thierry’s departure is unfortunate and premature because this was very promising, but he informed me of his desire to be back with his family because the situation was and remains very difficult for both him and his family,” said CF Montreal Sporting Director, Olivier Renard. “I want to thank him, first on a human level because he led the players by example last year by being away from his family, but also from a sporting level and for what we have built together since his arrival. We wanted to elevate this club and we are on the right track. The process of finding a new head coach is already underway and I will be looking for someone who is aligned with the philosophy we have implemented.”

The 1998 World Cup champion had previously worked as an assistant for the Belgium national team and as Monaco coach.

As a player, he starred for Arsenal and Barcelona before ending his illustrious playing career with the New York Red Bulls in 2014.

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