Arsenal's first match in it's new home the Emirates stadium could not have been a better testimonial to Bergkamp, as they won 2-1 over Ajax. The two teams saw a galaxy of stars like Johan Cruyff, Marco Van Basten, Edgar David, Patrick Kluiwert, Frank Rijkaard, Ronald de Boer, Ian Wright, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, David Seaman, Edwin Van Der Saar., Marc Overmaars, and
A crowd of 54,000 flocked to the Gunners’ impressive new residence to pay tribute to Bergkamp, to sing, "Dennis, Dennis, Dennis, " for the last time.
Bergkamp created the best chance for Arsenal in the first half by sending Hleb clear down the right, receiving the return pass on the edge of the area and sending a trademark chip over the bar, showing he had not lost his touch.
An emotional Bergkamp addressed the crowd after the final whistle before embarking on a triumphant lap of honour.
“It’s an amazing stadium. I thought the pitch couldn’t be better than Highbury but it is,” he said. “A club like Arsenal deserves a stadium like this.
“If ever I was going to have a testimonial it was always going to be against Ajax, so thank you to them for coming.
“In 11 years I have had a fantastic, successful time and a big part of that has been the fans, so thank you.”
Player and coach tributes:
Marco Van Basten: "If Ryan Giggs is worth 20 million, Dennis Bergkamp is worth 100 million."
Guus Hiddink: " Bergkamp. He had the finest technique [of all Dutch players]."
Arsene Wenger: "Intelligence and class. Class is of course, most of the time linked to what you can do with the ball, but the intelligence makes you use the technique in an efficient way. It's like somebody who has a big vocabulary but he doesn't say intelligent words, and somebody who has a big vocabulary but he can talk intelligently, and that's what Dennis is all about. What he does, there's always a head and always a brain. And his technique allows him to do what he sees, and what he decides to do."
Ian Wright: "He's the messiah. We told him to get us into Europe when he joined and that's exactly what he did."
Thierry Henry:" Dennis is the best player I have ever played with as a partner. It is a dream for a striker to have him in the team with you."
Bruce Rioch: "He was perfect for the club - a good team man, great for spirit, popular in the dressing room and he just integrated well into the club."
Lee Dixon: "During my time at Arsenal I was lucky to play alongside fantastic players like Tony Adams, Thierry Henry and Ian Wright. But Dennis Bergkamp topped the lot."
One cannot but wonder about the impact that Bergkamp would have had on away games for Arsenal that he missed because of his crippling fear of flying. Lee Dixon adds, "Looking back, the only thing that counts against him was not being in the team for overseas games. We really suffered when he wasn't in the side for those European away matches. No-one else could play like he did, because Dennis is a one-off, and we had to change the way we approached those matches."
Dennis Bergkamp changed the way Arsenal played football from the horribly dreary days of the 80's and early 90's when Arsenal endlessly grinded out 1-0 wins and ho-hum draws, to the fast attacking style that Arsenal is now associated with.
Grace thy name is Bergkamp.