Lionel Messi not winning Ballon d’Or would be ‘madness,’ says Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry says it would be “madness” if Barcelona star Lionel Messi is denied the Ballon d’Or trophy on Monday.

Thierry Henry says it would be “madness” if Barcelona star Lionel Messi is denied the Ballon d’Or trophy on Monday.

Along with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barca teammate Neymar, Messi is a finalist for the award, which will be announced on Jan. 11.

Messi, who led his club to a historic Treble last season, has been named world’s best player a record four times in his career. And Henry, who played with the Argentine from 2007-10, has declared it would be an injustice if the Blaugrana No. 10 did not add to his collection this time around.

“All we can do is enjoy what he does because what he is doing is not normal,” Henry told Barca’s official website on Thursday.

“We used to say that a player who got 23 to 25 goals in a season was an incredible striker, but Messi does that in three months.

“We had incredible players in that [Barca] team [that Henry played in] and whenever you did not know what to do, you always looked for Messi.

“I think it would be madness if he does not win the Ballon d’Or. He deserves it because the team won another Treble.

“But what I do not understand is why Suarez isn’t there.”

Barcelona beat Juventus 3-1 in the Champions League final last year and look the early favourites to lift the trophy in 2016, which would make them the first side in the Champions League era to repeat — a feat Henry believes will happen.

“In a single game, Bayern [Munich] can win it and you have to be careful with PSG too,” he said.

“You never know what might happen, but I think Barca can win it again.”

Henry baffled by Van Gaal’s use of Rooney & Van Persie

The former Arsenal striker says West Bromwich Albion, who pulled off a shock win at Old Trafford, would have been happy to see the strike duo playing in midfield

Henry baffled by Van Gaal's use of Rooney & Van Persie

Thierry Henry has criticised Louis van Gaal‘s tactics after Manchester United suffered their third straight Premier League defeat, going down 1-0 at home to West Brom on Saturday.

The hosts struggled to break down a disciplined Baggies side, despite boasting nearly 80 per cent possession, with Chris Brunt’s deflected free kick on 63 minutes proving decisive.

Robin van Persie returned to the starting line-up for the first time since February, but missed a second-half penalty, and saw a late chance superbly saved by Boaz Myhill, before dropping into midfield alongside Wayne Rooney late on.

Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria were both introduced as substitutes with Marouane Fellaini pushed furthest forwards as United sought an equaliser but Henry feels Van Gaal must take some of the blame for the club’s latest loss.

“If you play and you need to score a goal at Old Trafford and you’re losing against West Brom. If I’m playing for West Brom and I see Rooney in midfield, Van Persie in midfield… I’m happy,” he told Sky Sports.

“You’re not scared. I thought at a certain moment that he was going to change that and put Robin higher up the field and maybe Rooney too, guys that can score in some key moment. But they stayed in midfield.”

United are still on course to finish in the top four as they sit four points ahead of Liverpool with three games left to play but Dwight Yorke has warned they must spend big to improve their squad this summer.

“How much does Van Gaal need to spend in the summer? A few million that’s for sure,” he told Sky Sports. “Can you put a price tag on how much they’re going to spend to really make the team better?

“We’ve seen them spend £150 million (€200m), has the team improved? Slightly. I would think he definitely needs to bring in two or three players. I’m sure he knows the type of players he needs.”

Henry is wrong, Giroud can win Arsenal titles – Coquelin

The 23-year-old says the France striker, who has scored 18 goals this season, has shown he is good enough for the Gunners

Henry is wrong, Giroud can win Arsenal titles - Coquelin

Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has hit back at Thierry Henry after the former striker said the Gunners need “a top, top-quality striker in order to win this league again”.

The Frenchman was speaking after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the Emirates which ended Arsenal’s eight-game winning streak and left them 10 points behind the Blues in third.

Henry insisted that Arsene Wenger needed to sign four new players if they are to clinch a first Premier League title since 2004 but Coquelin says Olivier Giroud is good enough for the Gunners.

“Thierry Henry is wrong. Giroud shows his potential every week,” he told RMC. “He showed that he has the level to be the Arsenal striker, and we can win titles with him.

“We are disappointed with the result against Chelsea because we were on a good run.

“Now the target is to focus on the end of the championship, win all the remaining matches to get this second place, and of course win the FA Cup final.”

Coquelin has played a key role for Arsenal since returning from a loan spell with Charlton in December and the 23-year-old says he is glad to have taken the chance to prove his worth.

“I had no doubt about my qualities, but when you don’t have the chance to show what we can do, doubt can settle in,” he explained.

“But I had my chance, and it went well. In every big club, there is competition. You must answer to that when you have the chance to play, that’s what I do and I hope it will continue.”

Henry: Messi was treated differently for his infamous handball

The ex-Arsenal and Barcelona star is still bitter he was so heavily criticised for the role he played in France earning a spot at World Cup 2010

Henry: Messi was treated differently for his infamous handball

Thierry Henry says the reaction to his infamous handball against Republic of Ireland was unfairly hysterical, claiming that when Lionel Messi was involved in a similar incident, he was labelled “a genius”, whereas it was if he had “killed someone”.

The former France international used his hand to control a cross during the second leg of his country’s 2010 World Cup qualification play-off with the Irish in Paris before teeing up William Gallas for a goal that saw Les Bleus book their berth in South Africa courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate win.

Henry was vilified for his perceived dishonesty both by the press and his peers but he pointed out that former Barcelona team-mate Messi did not have his character called into question after scoring with the aid of his hand in a game against Espanyol in 2007.

“You are talking about people I spent so many times on the pitch with,” he told Canal Plus.

“I just said to them, ‘Yes, it was hand, I’m sorry.’ And you know what? They told me: ‘We don’t blame you.’

“I saw Liam Brady, the Arsenal legend, and he asked me: ‘Did you touch it with your hand?’ And I answered, ‘Yes, it was my hand.’ I spoke to the press that night. I could have ignored them but I didn’t.

“I spoke honestly – it was a reflex. A reflex by a competitor, just like when you reach out for the ball on the line when your goalkeeper is beaten.

“When I see Messi scoring against Espanyol, diving to touch the ball with his hand, people say, ‘What a genius, now he is closer than ever to Maradona.’ But when it was me, it was like I had killed someone.”

Henry also dismissed the suggestion that his decision to leave Barca for MLS outfit New York Red Bulls just six months after the handball incident was in any way influenced by the flak he received in his native France for the alleged act of poor sportsmanship.

“I have always wanted to go there [to the United States],” the Arsenal icon added.

“Anyone who knows me would tell you that. Also, to escape what? To escape who? I wanted to go as soon as 2009, but I didn’t because I kept playing with the national team. That is total rubbish.”

Pires tips Henry or Ancelotti to replace Wenger at Arsenal

The ex-forward does not expect the Frenchman to leave any time soon, but feels the legendary striker or Real Madrid boss could be perfect replacements

Pires tips Henry or Ancelotti to replace Wenger at Arsenal

Robert Pires has tipped Thierry Henry or Carlo Ancelotti to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in the future.

The 41-year-old spent six years at the Gunners between 2000 and 2006, winning the Premier League twice and FA Cup three times, only to see the club go nine years without a trophy until the FA Cup last season.

Pires does not think Wenger needs to call time on his spell in north London yet, but feels either the legendary striker or Real Madrid manager would be perfect candidates to replace him.

When asked by Goal if Wenger could leave Arsenal soon, Pires said: “Not this time. Beside that, Wenger still has a contract with Arsenal.

“Who is the perfect replacement? Thierry Henry? He understands football and Arsenal. I don’t know, but I like Carlo Ancelotti. But that’s my opinion, it doesn’t mean that Arsenal need Ancelotti at this time.”

Wenger has long been criticised for failing to strengthen his squad, particularly in defence following the exit of Thomas Vermaelen in the summer.

However, the club are expected to complete the signing of Villarreal centre-back Gabriel Paulista on Monday and Pires has backed his former manager’s moves in the transfer window.

He added: “I wouldn’t say Arsenal have made any mistakes in transfer market. If you play for Arsenal, it means that you have some quality. Among them are really great players.

“To me, Arsenal’s best signing is Santi Cazorla. Fans love Alexis Sanchez, and so do I; he’s quick to adapt to the Premier League – but Cazorla is so important. For the last few months, he’s been our best player.”

When asked if fellow Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette, who has scored 21 goals in 22 Ligue 1 appearances for Lyon this season, could join Arsenal, Pires added: “Why not? His characteristic style of play will suit Arsenal.

“Although he doesn’t have big posture, he’s quick, can dribble, and has great skill. He also scores many goals. Perhaps he will be an Arsenal best buy in the future.”

‘One of the greatest players I’ve ever seen’ – Arsenal boss Wenger hails Henry’s career

The 37-year-old won two Premier League titles during his time with the Gunners and remains the club’s record goalscorer with 228 goals in 377 appearances

'One of the greatest players I've ever seen' - Arsenal boss Wenger hails Henry’s career

Arsene Wenger believes Thierry Henry is one of the greatest players he has ever seen and has thanked the Frenchman for his contribution to Arsenal.

The 37-year-old called time on his playing career earlier this week after defeat in the MLS Eastern Conference final with New York Red Bulls and will now become a pundit for Sky Sports.

Henry helped guide Arsenal to two Premier League titles and three FA Cup trophies, while he remains the club’s top scorer with 228 goals in 377 appearances.

“He’s had a massive career and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for what he’s done for the club,” Wenger told reporters on Friday.

“He was a combination of physical talent and intelligence. He was one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen.”

Petit blasts ‘hypocritical and cowardly’ French for treatment of Henry

The 44-year-old made reference to World War II in a scathing attack on his compatriots over their indifferent attitude to his World Cup-winning team-mate

Petit blasts 'hypocritical and cowardly' French for treatment of Henry

Emmanuel Petit has accused France as a nation of being “hypocritical and cowardly” over a perceived lack of love for Thierry Henry, revealing that he sometimes thinks it would have been better if the country had been “overrun by the Germans”.

Henry looks set to have played his last game as a professional following New York Red Bulls’ MLS Cup elimination at the weekend, though the forward has yet to confirm if he will now call time on his illustrious career.

The 37-year-old’s potential retirement has made headlines in England, where Henry spent eight years plying his trade with Arsenal, who unveiled a statue of the striker outside the Emirates Stadium in 2011 in recognition of his status as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Henry, though, does not enjoy as strong a bond with his native France – despite playing a key role in the country’s World Cup triumph in 1998.

Now, in an astonishing outburst that makes reference to Germany’s occupation of France during World War II as well as Henry’s infamous handball in a World Cup play-off against Republic of Ireland in 2009, Petit has accused his compatriots of exhibiting hypocrisy and cowardice in their attitude towards his former team-mate.

“In England, they’ve built a statue of Thierry,” the ex-Arsenal midfielder told Sports.fr. “That means a lot. He’s adored there. It bothers me.

“What can we reproach Henry for? His handball against Ireland? He helped France qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. He has done nothing.

“France is hypocritical and cowardly. Sometimes I think that if we’d been overrun by the Germans, we’d be better run.

“He’s not hated but he’s certainly not loved. He got screwed by the French press after his handball and has since not spoken to the French media.

“In France, he has no collusion with the press, so what? Perhaps because he was not smiling when he scored for les Bleus! Well, that’s what I hate in this country.

“I have great difficulty with the French, I have never seen such arrogant, smug, lying and hypocritical people.”

Petit, who was capped 63 times by Les Bleus, spent three years at Arsenal himself, between 1997 and 2000.