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Thierry Henry in extensive RMC interview

As a guest on basketball player Tony Parker’s weekly radio show on RMC, Thierry Henry spoke on a number of topics including his decision to retire, Éric Abidal and the French national team.

On retirement…

“It is strange. Now, I can reflect on my career, revitalise and analyse it all. It is strange. You don’t think about those things when you’re playing. The decision was not easy because it was something that you did that motivated you in life. It was a good moment for me. I do not regret it. The dressing room, the evening of a big game, suffering together, I will always miss these things but that is normal. The tributes? I was surprised. It is through my father, my friends and Twitter as well that I was all that. I was nicely surprised, gob-smacked and touched.”

On playing one last game for France…

“I will respect any decision made. At the beginning, it wasn’t even in the air. An idea was then thrown out there. If I am called up, If I am not called up, to say hello, or not, I will be there. I will accept because it would be something beautiful and extraordinary. One always gives his maximum, and it is at the end of the ball that we pay the musicians. It is something that has been done in other countries, but not yet ours, apart from Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc who stopped just after Euro (2000). Naturally, I am not asking for anything, but I will show up for whatever tribute I might be offered.”

On his favourite moments during his career…

“Initially, I would have said the World Cup. But at the end of my career, it is everything that I have won with whatever team I have been with. You suffer so much as a team that, at the end, when you win a title, there is nothing more beautiful especially when you consider how tough the season has been. That is where my spirit remains.”

On becoming a pundit…

“I need to take my coaching and managerial badges. I need to equip myself before pretending to be a manager. It is the first stage that I need to undergo. I know a little about football and so I will try to see if I can make people understand certain phases of the game. I will only be analysing. I will be available for everything that Sky is doing. I hope that I can give back to football what football gave me.”

On France being favourites for Euro 2016…

“It is not because I am French and a supporter of Les Bleus but I think that this team can win the Euros. It has everything it needs to win the Euros. We have players who make us dream, we have players who are now at the top of the pecking order in Europe’s top clubs. And the Euros are going to be in France. I am not saying this because I am French, but because I think this team is truly strong.”

On Franck Ribéry’s decision to retire…

“I respect all decisions. I think if Franck took this decision, it is because he thought about it well in advance. We have for respect that. If he returns, I think everyone will be happy. If he does not return, we will respect his decision, quite simply.”

On Éric Abidal…

“People do not know Éric Abidal well. He is a lively guy who likes to laugh. He will tease everyone. From the President to the shop assistant. I rubbed shoulders with him a lot at Barcelona. His progress there. He flabbergasted me as a player and as a man. How can we not speak of what happened in terms of his health levels. This guy showed us all that there is one thing that is most important, that is life. From time to time, we forget to live and to breathe a bit, to stop, to see that we have a family. The values that he has shown us in these last few years. He will remain an example to all. He will always be engraved in my head. He has won it all, he missed out on a title with the national team but that changes nothing.”

[PHOTO: AP]

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