This Much I Know

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Thierry Henry, 32
FIFA Footballer of the Year 2010

What is Va-Va-Voom? Va-Va-Voom is doing things with style, with flair, panache, a certain je ne sais quoi. Who can say? Not me. I am not the ref.

Gillette Mach 4 Turbo: Now that’s what I call a close shave.

I do a lot of work for charity, you know
. UNICEF, Cystic Fibrosis, AIDS. I think it’s important to give something back.

“I am What I am”: That was the name of the Reebok campaign I signed up for a few years back. That says it all, really.

I’m a huge fan of the NBA. I’ve been to the finals on many occasions, and even did the commentary for French TV once, back in 2001. Would I have liked to have been a basketball player? I never had the height, so it’s a moot question, but I like to think I’d have had the touch.

It’s tough being a soccer player in a country where rugby is the national sport.
Sometimes you’d like a little more respect from your own countrymen. It’s almost enough to make you want to pick the ball up and run with it. That’s how rugby began, you know.

I grew up in a very rough part of Paris, surrounded by poverty and crime.
That leaves an impression on you. Motivates you. You look at the people left behind and think, “there but for the hand of God go I.”

We French invented philosophy, you know. Not the Greeks. We are a very philosophical people. Like to keep things in perspective. It isn’t called the Hellenic Shrug. It’s called the Gallic Shrug.

Do I feel a certain responsibility knowing that millions of children around the world look up to me to as a role model? No. Not really.

I’d like to think that I’ll always be remembered as the best striker in the world in one-on-one situations against the keeper. When it’s just you against him with nothing but your skill, guile, and intelligence. You’re forever trying to think up new ways to outwit them, to guarantee that the ball ends up in the back of the net.

Where is home?
Home is where the heart is. It used to be Monaco, then Arsenal, and now Barcelona. That is not to say that I didn’t, don’t, treasure the times I had there, but I think that in life you’ve always got to move on.

My biggest fear is fear of injury. Doing the Gillette ads and talking to Roger and Tiger, I realized how much we have in common across all sports. They are always concerned about not sustaining damage to their wrist during a game. I’m the same.

I’ve never been great with my head. Anyone can tell you that. The majority of my goals and assists have been with my feet.

I think racism is a disgrace, a terrible thing.
People shouldn’t be judged by the colour of their skin. They should be judged purely on the basis of their character.

Non. Je ne regrette rien.

(Answers to the forthcoming “This Much I Know” column in L’Équipe, November 28th 2009)

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