Ahead of their Champions league game against Glasgow Rangers, Fc Barcelona’s Thierry Henry has revealed that he is not finding it easy playing for the Catalan club. The player said “It looks easy playing for Barcelona when you are watching from the Premiership; just as Eidur Gudjohnsen said last week. It’s not easy playing for Barcelona; it’s hard and it’s very hard to adapt”.
The French striker has struggled to repeat the goal scoring form that saw him recognised as one of the best players in the world whilst at Arsenal and has been on the receiving end of some harsh criticism from an increasingly impatient Catalan press. The player is showing signs of irritation at the constant comparisons with his former glories and reacted to the question that many have been asking: when will we see the Henry of Arsenal?
“You are making me laugh with this now. The Henry of Arsenal was at Arsenal. Now I'm playing for Barcelona so stop looking for the player who was at Arsenal. I'm not at Arsenal any more! So you won't see that player, in that shirt again. It’s another style, another team”
The player went on to explain that it is a difference in playing styles that prevents him from emulating the way he played in the Premiership, “ Most of the time here I play back to the net, that's what I have to do. But not being 100 per cent I have 4 goals and 3 assists. I'm out there helping the team; it’s another type of game here. That's the way it is”
Henry has clearly been affected by Fabregas’ recent comments that Arsenal always had to play the way Henry wanted and baulked at the suggestion that Barcelona must also adapt to accommodate Henry; “It takes time when you arrive in a club. I play in the way that you saw at Arsenal, it was a more direct game. Here we like to keep the ball and pass from right to left and left to right. That's the Barcelona game, I have to adapt to the team and be more patient. At Arsenal, on the counter attack, the ball always came to me first. I think it’s not the case that Barcelona has to adapt to me; I have to adapt myself to the club. It takes time. I have to adapt it has nothing to do with other players”
Echoing Leo Messi’s comments that Glasgow Rangers set out to play anti-football a fortnight ago, Henry stated that it is frequently the opposition’s desire to stifle play that makes life increasingly difficult for players, like Henry, at a club like Barcelona. He is likely to face the same kind of problem against Glasgow Rangers at the Camp Nou this evening who are sure to repeat their tactics of a fortnight ago. According to Henry “whenever a team comes to play; they all play at the back. We had the same problem in Glasgow, they were all back in the box and not looking to attack. That's when it’s difficult. You can play against Almeria or Glasgow, its the same problem, that's when it becomes difficult”
The Frenchman also pointed out that a lack of fitness, a niggling injury and the way he was rushed in to the Barcelona side have all hindered his introduction to La Liga. Henry said “I think it would have been better, to go in to the team little by little. But at the end of the day Samuel got injured, a lot of players got injured. We didn't start all together; some players were in the Copa America so I had to come back getting back to fitness playing at the same time. That's the way it is I'm not looking for excuses, I have to deal with it. I would say that in the last game the only thing missing was the last 20 mins. Physically I feel ok. I've been playing the last three games with an Achilles tendon injury, picked up with France against Lithuania. I wanted to play against Villarreal, against Rangers and I wanted to play last Sunday against Almeria”
Henry also defended his team mate Ronaldinho who has also been the focus of some negative press of late. The Brazilian is struggling to recapture the outstanding form of previous seasons and there have been numerous rumours about excessive partying and a desire to leave the Camp Nou circulating in Spain for some time. Henry said “it’s harsh to say he is out of form. I judt think that Ronnie has been at the top for a very long time. He's not a machine. I don't see him playing that badly. Its always more difficult when everyone expects so much from him. What he was doing before was abnormal. When he was doing it every weekend you took it for granted, but it wasn't normal. Ronnie is still Ronnie. Just his being on the pitch occupies opponent’s minds, they are scared of him. He is still a great player, not a machine.
And is Henry happy at Barcelona?
“I’m only unhappy when I don't give something to the team, a goal or an assist”
And at the suggestion that he fears the notoriously demanding Camp Nou crowd may start to turn on him, Henry glowered; “I’m only afraid of death……….that’s all”