Henry confirms France retirement

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Thierry Henry has confirmed his retirement from international football with France after completing his move from Barcelona to the New York Red Bulls.

The 32-year-old scored 51 goals in 123 appearances for France - with both totals standing as French records. Henry won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 with Les Blues, but was also part of the France squad that suffered a disasterous campaign and elimation at the group stage in South Africa this summer.

"South Africa didn't play any part in it," he said at his unveiling by the Red Bulls. "I could have announced it before the World Cup but I just didn't want to put that type of cloud on top of the team."

The former Arsenal man added: "My decision was already taken before the World Cup. I think it was time for me to stop after the World Cup."

Asked about what unfolded in South Africa, where France took only one point from their three matches with Henry making only two substitute appearances, the striker said many of the claims made about levels of disharmony in the squad were wide of the mark.

"I actually would like to know myself (what went wrong)," he said.

"I don't know what it was. From a personal point of view, I am always going to respect the decision of the coach. It was (Raymond Domenech's) decision not to play me and I respect that.

"Lots of stuff was invented unfortunately. I just like to stick to the pitch, and the problem was we didn't play very well. That's the only thing we should be talking about right now. We didn't perform. It's as simple as that."

"We had a good atmosphere, but when you don't perform well it is difficult. A lot of the stories that came out were invented. For me, you can also have a lot of stuff happening when you win. We just didn't play well. I will stick to this."

"You have to remember that with a world champion team, we went to the World Cup in 2002 and didn't score a goal, so it's not just this generation. I think the team should move on now with Laurent Blanc in position as the coach, and hopefully they can qualify for the European Championships and do well in that competition."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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