Emmanuel Petit calls for a Franco-German union (well, almost).
What he said:
“France is hypocritical and cowardly. Sometimes I think that if we’d been overrun by the Germans, we’d be better run.”
Former France midfielder Emmanuel Petit is disgusted with the way the French national press have consistently treated his former team-mate Thierry Henry. Henry recently announced that he will be quitting the New York Red Bulls after four and a half years. The French forward is mulling retiring from the game. He is 37.
“In England, they’ve built a statue of Thierry. That means a lot. He is revered there. This bad image [in the French press] of Thierry Henry, it annoys me. What can we reproach Henry for? His handball against Ireland? He helped France qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. He has done nothing.”
“Wayne Rooney is not hated in England, even though he was not always right in his boots on the field and off. Thierry Henry never had a bad move on the pitch and there were no stories in his private life.
He’s not hated but he’s certainly not loved. He got screwed by the French press after his handball and has since not spoken to the French media.
In France, he has no collusion with the press, so what? Perhaps because he was not smiling when he scored for Les Bleus! Well, that’s what I hate in this country.
I have great difficulty with the French, I have never seen such arrogant, smug, lying and hypocritical people.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said:
“He(Henry) is an Arsenal man. The best moment certainly of his life and of his career has been experienced here. Certainly one day he will come back here. In what role I don’t know, that is what he has to think about: what direction he wants to give to his next life.”
“Thierry has all the qualities because he is intelligent, committed, he loves the game. He just has to think, ‘Do I want to sacrifice all the rest of my life to be involved in that job?’
Yes [he can still do a job as a player], but 37 today in the Premier League … I don’t think he wants to do that again.
Thierry has given a lot, he has come out [of the Premier League] with an image that is fantastic. I am not sure that he wants to play again in the Premier League.
I don’t think he wants to carry on. That is a virtual world.”
What Petit really meant:
“Why couldn’t the French press be like the Argentines and simply term the handball incident the ‘Hand of God’ or, at least, the ‘Hand of Henry’? Why be critical of your best player and label him a cheat? It’s a national disgrace.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’ve got my history wrong. The French were overrun—twice. That’s why the French press is so rabid towards fellow Frenchmen. They’re Deutsch in disguise.”