Pires: Henry actions will follow him forever

Villarreal forward Robert Pires says his former Arsenal and France team-mate Thierry Henry’s actions against Republic of Ireland has ruined his reputation for life.

Henry’s blatant handball which led to France’s equaliser in their World Cup play-off with Ireland has caused a stir across the footballing world.

Many have branded the former Gunners striker a ‘cheat’ after Raymond Domenech’s side fortuitously booked a place in next summer's South Africa showpiece.

And Pires – who tasted World Cup glory with Les Blues in 1998 – admitted he found it hard to rejoice after qualifying in such contentious circumstances.

“There is no taking back the bad thing he’s done,” he said in The Sun.

“Thierry isn’t a cheat but I cannot bring myself to celebrate the fact that we are in the World Cup because of how we got there.

“How can you be pleased with qualifying like this?”

The former club and country team-mates spent six fruitful years together in North London before both decided to leave the Premier League for La Liga.

But Pires – enjoying his fourth season at El Madrigal – fears Henry’s actions on Wednesday night will haunt him for the rest of his days.

“They are saying that Titi needn’t bother going back to Ireland or England and whether the Irish ever accept his apologies I’m not sure," he said.

“But I do believe that this thing he did will follow him forever, wherever he goes.”