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Wenger Defends Henry's Claim to Ballon d'Or
The Guardian, November 20th, 2006 8:09PM
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It seems like Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says it every year, but he thinks captain Thierry Henry deserves this year's Ballon d'Or, the prize France Football gives out to the best player in Europe over the last year. Wenger has a point: like Spain and Real Madrid forward Raul in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Henry has consistently been one of the top performers in the world, starring for Arsenal and France over the last five years, but has failed to net himself the European or World Player of the Year award. Reports in Italy have suggested the award will most likely go to Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, who had a superb year playing for Italy, Juventus and now, Real Madrid. "Congratulations to Cannavaro if that's the case," Wenger said, "but [Henry] was the top goalscorer in England, the best player in England, the second-highest goalscorer in Europe behind Luca Toni. He played in the Champions League final and he played in the World Cup final. He lost one on penalties and he lost the other in the last few minutes with 10 men." Wenger said the only other player who could compare with Henry in Europe last year is Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o, who won both the Spanish championship and the Champions League last year. "When you look at what this guy has achieved in his career as a player, I can tell you there are some players in the Ballon d'Or who have a lot to answer for when you compare them to Thierry Henry," Wenger added. Read the original story...

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