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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Henry proud despite Italian victory over France

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His team suffered the most painful defeat in football and he was part of it. But Thierry Henry insisted he felt "proud" despite losing the world's two biggest football games within two months.

As we know, Barcelona came from behind to win the Champions League final in May, and the Arsenal hitman ended up second best to France as Italy clinched a dramatic shoot-out win in the World Cup final.

But "Tití" remained upbeat. "We were going to the final of the Champions League and the final of the World cup - twice nobody thought we were able to do that," Henry claims.

"Of course losing the final is cruel but nobody was seeing us there and nobody was seeing me there. So there is somewhere in my mind where I feel completely proud."

The French frontman admitted defeat was not the end of the world - even though it felt like it.

"I have already had an opportunity to lift the World Cup once so if things were against me I would have lost today," he joked. "I lost the final of the UEFA Cup and then I went on to get the title of the Euro 2000 straight after. Over the years people were saying I could take my team somewhere and I did that in the two most important competitions in the world," he said.

"Unfortunately, losing on penalties is really hard. It can go either way. It went their way and they took some great penalties. That is just the way it is. That is football."

The other French striker, David Trezeguet, was the only player not to find the back of the net in the shoot-out, but the Juventus player cannot be blamed, according to Henry.

"The one of David was not a bad one," he stated. "Just a little bit lower and the ball is in."

About the most incredible incident of the game, Henry was sympathetic towards Zinedine Zidane. The number 10 ended his career in disgrace. The star playmaker was sent off in the 110th-minute for a vicious head-butt on Marco Materazzi.

"It is never easy to finish like that," Henry assured. "He is a grand man and the only thing I can tell him is thank you. Thank you for everything he has done for football. He is not just a great player but also a great personality. We are going to miss him."