Interviews

The big interview: Thierry Henry – "The Invincibles didn't think about going unbeaten until the third-last game"

Thierry Henry
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What did Marco Materazzi say to provoke Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt in the World Cup final?
Gunner Bob, via e-mail
I don’t know and I don’t want to know.

What did Zidane say to the rest of the team after the World Cup final? Was he angry, ashamed, upset?
Glyn Price, via e-mail
Of course he was annoyed but the team forgave him straight away. How could it be otherwise after all he has brought to French football?

France 1998 vs France 2006: who wins?
Matt Harrison, Coventry
Ooh! I don’t know. As it is, there would be some players who’d have to play one half for each team. You’ve got one team which won the World Cup and one which didn’t, but you’ve got one team that played at home and one that didn’t. Really, I don’t know – I’m just happy to have been a part of both of them.

Who’s the best strike partner you’ve ever had? Or do you prefer to play up front alone?
Lee Atherton, Manchester
[Without even a second’s hesitation] Dennis Bergkamp. Dennis.

If money was no object, which player would you most like Arsene Wenger to sign to play alongside you this season?
Mike Francis, Ashford
I really don’t know. Sometimes you can sign a player who you think will be great for the club and he isn’t, it doesn’t work out – and vice versa. You can want star 
players but you never know how they’ll fit in, that’s for sure. And then sometimes you get a player no one knows who turns out to be a pearl. Look at how Arsene fought to get Cesc Fabregas when no one knew who he was, and then look at him now. 
Same for Kolo Toure. It’s not a question of wanting big players, it’s about bringing in players who can help.

Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas turned out just fine

Is it dispiriting going up against Chelsea knowing that whatever points Arsenal accumulate, they can just go out and buy anyone they want when the transfer window opens?
Neil, via e-mail
People talk too much about money, money, money. Putting all the best players in the world into the same team is no guarantee of success. Chelsea deserve credit for the way they play and compete as a team. 
They go out there and fight, and it’s not easy for them each week. They often 
manage to score late goals to get the result they need, and that’s the sign of a great team. Obviously it helps if you have lots 
of top players, but having the best 
players doesn’t mean you’re going to have a winning team.

Who’s the most difficult centre-back you’ve been marked by?
John Quay, via e-mail
It’s hard to say. Of course John Terry would be among them, Sol Campbell, Ledley King, William Gallas. But you know I’ve also had tough games against defenders who might not be among your obvious candidates. At times it’s a war out there – when you go to Blackburn, Bolton, Everton, you know you’re going to have to battle. It makes me laugh when I hear some say it’s easy in England! They should come and play some of those type of games and take the knocks that come your way. Sometimes those matches are the hardest.

Thierry Henry Ledley King

Henry names Ledley King as one of his toughest opponents

Is Theo Walcott the (English) Thierry Henry of the future? And are you helping him to become that? Please say yes...
Andy Kerr, Hove
I don’t like comparing one player to another. But he has the potential, enormous potential. I hope he will fulfil it.

You’ve got the looks, style and flair to move into movies: could you be the first French James Bond? If not, what kind of films would you like to star in?
Claire Thomas, via e-mail
No. For now I’m happy to be a footballer and I have no pretensions of one day being an actor. To be an actor you’d have to be good at acting, and it’s hard enough being a footballer!

As you near the end of your career, have you thought much about life after playing? Will you stay in London?
Martin Henriques, Waverly
I find it hard to project myself into the future. I like to think I’ve got a few more years in my legs before I have to think about what comes next. But I do think it would be something in the world of football. 
I can’t imagine it not being in football.

London? For sure. I know it might sound strange coming from a Frenchman, but London is what I call home. When I think of home, I think of London. And I think I’ll always live here. London has adopted me, the people have adopted me, the fans have adopted me, and that’s something 
I’m proud of. It’s not necessarily an easy 
thing to achieve when you arrive in a new country as a foreigner.

This interview was originally published in the October 2006 issue of FourFourTwo

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