MADRID // The Barcelona striker Thierry Henry has hit back at his critics after helping the side to a 3-1 Champions League victory at home to Sporting Lisbon. The France international made some strong runs and came close to scoring on two occasions at Camp Nou last night, but it was Rafael Marquez, Samuel Eto'o and Xavi who found the back of the net. Barca's 1-0 defeats away to Wisla Kraków 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 during the side's unconvincing start.
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 struggled with back problems during his first season and was in and out of the side under the former Barca coach Frank Rijkaard, still finished as top scorer for the Catalunya club with 19 goals in all competitions. Despite this though, the former Juventus player has never really won over the Barca fans.
He has scored once in four outings in the current campaign, in the 4-0 first-leg win over Wisla Kraków. *Reuters