Football

Henry contemplated international retirement

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France captain Thierry Henry admits he considered quitting international football following the uproar caused by his part in the goal which sent Les Bleus to the World Cup finals at the Republic of Ireland's expense.

The Barcelona forward's blatant handball in the build-up to William Gallas' extra-time equaliser last Wednesday night went unpunished and sent the French through 2-1 on aggregate.

Henry knows his reputation will always be marked by events in Paris last week and claims he contemplated retiring before opting to continue his France career. "Yes, I asked myself the question," the 32-year-old told L'Equipe.

"Without the support of my family, I perhaps would not have made the same decision. But I will always fight to the end - even if what just happened will be engraved. You can always forgive but you cannot always forget."

He added: "Despite everything that has happened, the fact of feeling abandoned, I do not let go of (playing for) my country.

"After the game, and even for the next two days, I felt alone, truly alone. It was only after I sent my statement that people from the French federation appeared."

The former Arsenal striker released a statement on Friday claiming a replay of the World Cup qualification play-off would be "the fairest solution" - hours after FIFA had ruled that the result could not be changed and the match could not be replayed.

But he insisted: "We worked on this release with my lawyer without knowledge that the international federation would meet the same day on the subject."

Henry, France's record scorer with 51 goals, opted to celebrate with his team-mates rather than immediately admit his handball offence to referee Martin Hansson, and concedes now that that was a mistake.

"I should not have done it," he said. "But frankly, it was uncontrollable. After all that had happened... yes, I regret it. That's why right after I spoke with the Irish one by one."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Premier League
William Gallas
Thierry Henry

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