Thierry Henry has stepped down as manager of MLS side CF Montreal for family reasons.
The legendary former Arsenal forward took over in November 2019 but said in a statement on Thursday that the coronavirus-enforced distance between himself and his family was proving too much of a strain.
The news comes only a day after former defender Laurent Ciman returned to the club as assistant coach. The search for a new permanent manager is now underway.
Why has Henry left Montreal?
Henry said in a statement: “It is with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to take this decision. The last year has been an extremely difficult one for me personally.
“Due to the worldwide pandemic, I was unable to see my children. Unfortunately due to the ongoing restrictions and the fact that we will have to relocate to the US 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. I would like to thank the fans, players and all the staff of this club that have made me feel so welcome.”
The Frenchman was recently linked with taking over at Championship side Bournemouth, but the Cherries opted to appoint Jonathan Woodgate until the end of the season.
How did Henry do as Montreal manager?
Henry joined Montreal as a relatively novice manager, following a spell as assistant manager of Belgium and an unsuccessful stint in charge of Monaco.
In the 2020 season, he led the club to the MLS play-offs for the first time since 2016, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference.
They also reached the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League, where they were beaten on away goals by Honduran side Olimpia.
Sporting director Olivier Renard said: “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.”