Henry shrugs off 'incredible' attacks as he battles to win Barça fans' hearts

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Thierry Henry hit back at his critics after helping Barcelona to a 3-1 Champions League victory at home to Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday night.

The France international made some strong runs and came close to scoring on two or three occasions, but it was Rafael Marquez, Samuel Eto'o and Xavi who found the back of the net.

Barça's 1-0 defeat away to Wisla Krakow in their Champions League third qualifying round second leg, and to promoted Numancia in their league opener, have had local media questioning Henry's performances and commitment.

The former Arsenal player was rested for Saturday's 1-1 league draw at home to Racing Santander, prompting further press speculation that new coach Pep Guardiola had dropped him.

"It's better to talk about our victory than the incredible things they have said about me," Henry said. "People talk a lot but I have been playing football for 14 years and it is 11 players who win or lose, not one. Here, though, it seems to operate differently sometimes." When asked about being left out of the squad to face Racing, Henry responded: "Ask the coach."

The 31-year-old, who suffered with a back injury and problems of adaptation to his new club at home and on the pitch last season, failed to win over fans under former coach Frank Rijkaard, despite being their top scorer with 19 goals in all competitions. He has scored once in four outings in the current campaign, in the 4-0 first-leg win over Wisla Krakow.

Atletico Madrid's players were full of praise for team mate Sergio Aguero after the Argentina striker scored twice in the 3-0 away win over PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday that put them top of Group D.

The 20-year-old, nicknamed "Kun" after a Japanese comic book hero, netted twice in the first half against the Dutch champions, and Portugal midfielder Maniche added the third in the second half.

"Aguero makes life easier for us. When we have a problem we give the ball to him and everything is sorted out," Atletico forward Luis Garcia said. Maniche added: "I don't have words to describe the kid. Aguero will be the best player in the world in two or three years."

Aguero was the Spanish side's top scorer in the league last season as they finished fourth in La Liga to enter the Champions League third qualifying round.

He missed the first leg of that tie which they lost 1-0 away to Schalke 04 last month, helping Argentina to win gold at the Beijing Olympics instead. He returned to inspire Atletico to a 4-0 home win over the Germans in the return leg, scoring one and setting up two more.

After Tuesday's game, however, Aguero preferred to play down his contribution when reporters suggested he was one of the best players in the world. "Thank you, but I am young and still have a lot to learn," he said. "All I am thinking about is helping us to qualify out of the group stage and then we'll see where we can get to.

"I hope I can continue to make the fans happy because they give me a lot of support." Atletico, who last played in the Champions League 11 years ago, are at home to Marseilles for their next match in two weeks' time.

Comments