Football: Daggers out for Henry after hapless Barca display

10th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Barcelona fans were celebrating progress to the Champions League semi-finals on Thursday, but wondering whether French superstar has a future at the club.

   BARCELONA, Spain, April 10, 2008  - Barcelona fans were celebrating progress to the Champions League semi-finals on Thursday, but simultaneously wondering whether French superstar Thierry Henry has a future at the club.
   Henry's hapless display in the Catalans' 1-0 win over Schalke 04, for a 2-0
aggregate win over the German club, has prompted the possibility that the
much-heralded Frenchman could be off-loaded during the summer.
   With Lionel Messi almost recovered from injury and Mexican teenager
Giovanni Dos Santos also waiting in the wings, some believe Wednesday's tie
might have been Henry's last start for the Spanish giants.
   "The picture of Henry leaning on the post while Yaya Toure calmly scored
the goal has drawn many comments and none of them positive. He shouldn't have
been just another spectator," reflected the sports daily El Mundo Deportivo.
   Henry was the only Barcelona man to get a zero rating from another Spanish
sports daily Marca in their player-by-player rankings.
   The mainstream Spanish daily newspaper La Vanguardia gave its own withering
assessment of the former Arsenal striker's contribution to Barcelona's
victory, which earned them the right to fight with Manchester United for a
place in the final on May 21.
   "Until the 49th minute, if someone had said he was actually in London, you
would have believed them. Then he had a clear chance but sent it over. After
that there were complaints, protests but little more.
   "The jeering was justified," added La Vanguardia, reflecting on the
reception Henry received from many in the 72,000 crowd as he trooped off the
pitch after being substituted in injury time.
   Henry admitted last month, in an interview in Spain, that his form has been
not as good as he expected although spectators last night would have been far
more damning.
   He also added at the time that he has not been happy for much of his time
in Spain because he has rarely seen his daughter Tea since his divorce from
English model Claire Merry in September 2007.
   His high-profile divorce broadly coincided with his move to Barcelona.
   Henry cost Barca 23.5 million euros last summer when they signed him from
English Premiership side Arsenal.
   However, despite having a contract until 2011, many believe Barcelona would
now be happy to cut their losses and sell Henry in a cut-price deal.
   Earlier this week, the magazine France Football assessed that Henry was the
fifth biggest earning player in world football with a current income of 16.8
million euros, approximately half of which would come from his Barca salary.
   A bit of basic arithmetic suggests that Barca would more-or-less recoup
their shortfall on his transfer in saved wages.
   If Henry is set to leave Barca then the question then arises, where would
he go?
   Last month, he ruled out a return to England, although pundits and fans
alike have learned to treat his words with caution after his long-term pledges
of allegiance to Arsenal in the summer of 2006 proved to be hollow.
   No club in his native France, not even perennial champions Lyon, could
afford his current salary demands but Italy may still be viable destination
for the fashion-conscious Frenchman.


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