Exchanging match jerseys at the close of a game has been a longstanding tradition for footballers. This simple gesture puts aside differences and celebrates true sportsmanship even during the fiercest of rivalries or derbies such as the El Clasico over the past two decades.
Sometimes, this also becomes a way for a younger player to share a special moment with his/her footballing icon while sharing the pitch with them. During the Euro 2021 encounter between France and Portugal, childhood Ronaldo fan Kylian Mbappe faced off against his idol and also exchanged jerseys with the Portuguese international, taking home a souvenir to mark the memorable moment.
Following Netherlands’ game against Belgium in the Nation’s League, the Dutchman was spotted exchanging a signed Netherlands jersey in exchange for Henry’s signed Barcelona kit from his playing days. As Henry is currently pursuing a role with the coaching staff of Belgium, this special moment between them was possible.
As it is very rare for an ex-player to walk around with a jersey from his playing days, this suggests that the jersey swap was indeed planned by the Frenchman for a particular reason.
After Liverpool confirmed their qualification to this year’s Champions League final last month, Van Dijk revealed in an interview with CBS Sports that Henry (who was a part of the studio line-up for post-match analysis) did not respond to the Dutchman’s texts and that he had been ignoring his attempts to reach out.
Speaking later on the talk show, Henry revealed the reason behind the lack of replies to the Dutchman. “I changed my number at the same time and when I put the numbers on my new phone, his number was lost,” reasoned the ex-Barca man. He also went on to joke that Van Dijk could have also texted the wrong number just for the sake of some friendly banter.
Despite the sudden revelation from Van Dijk on-air with CBS, the two have let bygones be bygones and it looks like Henry himself took the initiative as he came prepared with a Barcelona jersey to gift the Liverpool defender.
The Netherland’s official Twitter account posted a video of them exchanging shirts and finally having the special moment off the pitch that has been due.