The 44-year-old Dutchman was in attendance to witness the unveiling of the statue, which was commissioned to commemorate his 11-year Arsenal career.

"I am just so honoured and today makes me very proud. It is great to come back and see everyone at Arsenal again," said Bergkamp, who scored 120 goals for Arsenal in 423 appearances.

"Everyone knows I love Arsenal and I had such a great time at the club. The fans, the staff and my team-mates were fantastic. The team was also amazing and we had a lot of success over the years.

"For me and my family it was such an important and enjoyable period in our lives. This is such a special moment to come back and be honoured in this way."

The statue depicts Bergkamp leaping to control a high ball on the top of his right foot and is based on a photograph taken of him in action against Newcastle United during a Premier League game in February 2003.

It joins statues of former Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman and former players Thierry Henry and Tony Adams, both team-mates of Bergkamp's, which were unveiled in December 2011.

Bergkamp's arrival at Arsenal from Inter Milan in June 1995 was one of the catalysts behind the most successful period in the club's history.

The elegant striker won seven major honours during his time at the club and was a key figure for the team known as the 'Invincibles', who won the 2003-04 Premier League title without losing a game.

"Arsenal Football Club is proud that this statue of Dennis Bergkamp will be on display outside Emirates Stadium," said Arsenal director Ken Friar, who officially unveiled the statue.

"Dennis contributed so much to the club, while at the same time treating Arsenal fans to some of the most exciting football ever seen in this country."