May 19, 2011
NO, IT ISN'T SO
Henry: I have not asked Pires to join me on the Red Bulls
By Michael Lewis
|Thierry Henry: "I played with Robert for a very long time. He likes to talk on the field with the ball, sometimes without the ball outside of the field."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HARRISON, N.J. -- An annoyed Thierry Henry wanted to make one thing perfect clear on Thursday afternoon: He said he has not asked former Arsenal and French international teammate Robert Pires to join the Red Bulls.
The team captain was responding to a report in the Birmingham Mail on Wednesday that said Pires had said that Henry asked him to "come over and play with me."
Henry, however, was quite perturbed about his good friend relaying a conversation that never happened.
After talking about his ailing right knee after practice at Red Bull Arena, a reporter asked Henry about the report.
"I'm glad you're asking me that," he said. "I don't know why he said that. Robert likes to talk, maybe because they don't offer him another contract in [Aston] Villa, whatever the problem is for him. But I did not speak to him about him coming. I would like you to put that clear."
Henry raised his voice as he said the word clear.
"I don't know why," he added about Pires..
After reading Pires' comments, Henry called his friend in Birmingham on Wednesday.
"I said, 'Why did you have to mention my name?' " he said. "I think he's 37 soon. I think he should talk as a grown man. But he likes to talk. I played with Robert for a very long time. He likes to talk on the field with the ball, sometimes without the ball outside of the field. I don't know. You should ask him why he said that because I have no idea."
Henry stressed that he wasn't throwing his friend under the bus.
"Robert is a very good friend of mine, but he likes to talk," he said. "It's not the first time and it won't be the last time. It's just him. . . . It doesn't mean we're not friends. but he likes to talk.
Henry said he was not shocked about the comments "because it's Robert. I'm not having a go at him. He likes to talk. He still will be my friend, until we die. That's just him. That's why i wasn't surprised. I don't know why he said it or what was the plan behind it. I think a lot of people would love to have Robert Pires on their team. But the way that came out was a bit weird."
So did Henry think that Pires would be a good fit with the Red Bulls?
"That you need to ask the boss [coach Hans Backe] and him," he said. "I don't know his situation at Villa. I don't know if they're going to offer him another contract. If he wants to come here.
"From what I hear, sometime he would like to come here. But with this organization, I am not the boss, I am not Erik Soler [the sporting director] to decide who is coming here or not. playing with Robert has always been a pleasure. We had some great times playing with Arsenal togther and the National Team. As for the rest, it is not in my hands."
In Wednesday's mail, Pires was quoted as say: "Thierry has phoned me. He called me up and said 'Come over and play with me' but there are no real offers yet."