Strikers who skulk around the six-yard box feeding off scraps like foxes scavenging through trash cans are probably not the kind of guys who earn respect from players with as much talent and imagination as Thierry Henry.
Still, criticizing Chicharito for celebrating after he scored the winning goal in the 88th minute of a huge Champions League tie against Real Madrid’s city rivals? Huh?
Ronaldo’s run into the box was good, not amazing; and the skill of Javier Hernández’s finish came in the way he found space to take the shot despite the close attentions of two defenders.
“That’s Ronaldo’s goal,” Henry said on Sky Sports. “At that particular moment he couldn’t shoot, so he didn’t take the risk of doing something stupid and silly with it. He saw a guy in a better position, which Chicharito was, and he gave him the ball. What I don’t like is he seems like he’s won the World Cup with that … It’s a tap-in. Turn around and celebrate with Ronaldo … Even the camera knew – the camera is on Ronaldo for a reason.”
Spoken like a man who maybe feels he should have got a bit more respect for all the times he set up Bradley Wright-Phillips last year? Anyway, Thierry, the camera is ALWAYS on Ronaldo, so that’s not much of an argument. It would be on Ronaldo if he adjusted his hair, or pulled his socks up.
The Portuguese gets enough credit and attention, so why not give the Little Pea his moment of glory? He’s only made seven starts and scored six times since joining Real on loan from Manchester United. He’s getting his chance because of Karim Benzema’s injury, and he knows it will be fleeting. He’s sent Real into the semis at the expense of Atlético Madrid. Can’t we spread the love, Thierry?
Plus, the argument that Hernández was being selfish sounds a bit hollow when you consider his post-match comments on Mexican TV, as recounted by ESPN: “It fell to me to score, but this is for all the team and the people who trusted in me.”
Truth is, Hernández probably wasn’t thinking about the optics of his celebration in the immediate aftermath of his goal. He was probably just blissfully, crazily happy.
The strange effect of Henry’s argument for showing maximum respect to teammates is that here it makes him seem petulant and grouchy. You wonder if he’d have called out Chicharito if they’d been teammates in the locker room after the match. Or whether he felt the need to justify what’s been reported as a $39 million punditry deal with some comments sure to stoke headlines.
Of course, when set up for a relatively simple finish thanks to a superb pass, Henry himself never failed to instantly acknowledge the provider in his celebrations, which were in no way egotistical.