Bergkamp statue unveiled outside Arsenal’s stadium
LONDON (AP) — Dennis Bergkamp paid tribute to his former Arsenal teammates and family as a bronze statue of the Dutch great was unveiled outside Emirates Stadium.
The forward scored 120 goals for Arsenal between 1995 and 2006, winning seven major trophies with Arsene Wenger’s side. His return to Arsenal served as a reminder to fans that the team hasn’t won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.
Hundreds of Arsenal supporters turned out to welcome the 44-year-old Bergkamp back to London before Saturday’s 4-1 win over Sunderland.
“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,” Bergkamp told the crowd.
He joined a select group of former Arsenal figures to be commemorated around the stadium. Bronze statues of former manager Herbert Chapman, double-winning captain Tony Adams and record goal scorer Thierry Henry are already in place.
Wenger hailed Bergkamp for his loyalty to the club, his class and intelligence.
“He changed the destiny of the club because he arrived at a moment when football in England was changing,” Wenger said. “He was the first big star to arrive at this club, having been at Inter Milan.
“Overall, I think he contributed to transforming the way we played football here. Nobody forgets him.”
Wenger thinks there may still be a job at Arsenal for Bergkamp, who is an assistant coach at Ajax.
“He is at Ajax now and a coach there,” Wenger said. “The second club that is important in his life is Arsenal. Maybe that will be the next step!”