On this day in 2009, Thierry Henry's handball gave us one of football's most controversial moments ever

Irish national football team midfielder

Thierry Henry is regarded as one of the greatest footballers to grace the Premier League, and he also had the reputation of being one of the game's good guys. 

That was, at least until the infamous evening of November 18, 2009, when he turned from hero to villain in the eyes of most.

France hosted the Republic of Ireland in the second leg of an international playoff 10 years ago today, and the stakes were incredibly high. 

The winner would reach the 2010 World Cup finals, while the loser would watch the tournament from home. 

With the score level on aggregate after 90 minutes, the game went into extra-time and that's when Henry did the unthinkable. 

After a free-kick was played into the box, he blatantly used his hand to control the ball not only once, but twice, before crossing for William Gallas, who poked in from a few yards. 

The Irish players quickly crowded the referee, pleading for him to disallow the goal, but it was no use. Henry's hand sent France to the World Cup finals. 

But the fallout was spectacular. 

Martin Hansson, who had been refereeing the game that night, received death threats in the following weeks and admitted to being in tears after the final whistle.

"After the game, we were sitting in the dressing room and I cried," he revealed, per Sky Sports.

"I asked myself if this job is worth all the humiliation I had to face. But now I realise, after all the support I've got, that it wasn't my fault." 

Irish players couldn't believe the goal was given

Henry and his family were threatened by fans too. The striker released a statement apologising for the incident and later admitted he contemplated international retirement after the backlash. 

Ireland also made an appeal for the match to be replayed, but that ultimately failed. Defender Sean St Ledger recalled how the dressing room was stunned into silence post-match. 

"I remember in the changing room there was just silence. I don't think anyone could believe what had happened," he said.

The Irish players were stunned into silence

"We thought there was a slim chance [of a rematch] because of everything surrounding what had happened, and there initially seemed a lot of support for it.

"But I think the likes of FIFA and Adidas wanted France in that World Cup more than Ireland." 

Unbelievable stuff. A decade has now passed since Henry's infamous handball, but the incident is still fresh in many minds and it remains one of the most controversial moments in history. 

News Now - Sport News