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Thierry Henry has said he got a bodyguard to protect his daughter after death threats were made because of his infamous handball goal that helped France beat the Republic of Ireland to go to the 2010 World Cup.

He said: “Am I proud of it? No. Do I get abused by the Irish fans sometimes? Yes I do.

“And it’s hard to take because this is not the type of player I am but when you have a bad instinct or reaction, it’s difficult to explain.

“I can’t explain it because it happens, but this is where it becomes difficult. And I’m not saying that for people to say, ‘Oh my God’. No.

“But then after that, the abuse that I got – I received letters, death threats, my daughter had to go to school with a bodyguard for two weeks because I was scared: ‘We know where you live.’

“I was in Barcelona, don’t get me wrong. But my daughter was still here (in England). And I’m not trying to make it sound better than what it is because it happened. But the impact that it has on your family sometimes, this is where it becomes difficult.

Henry received threats after the controversial handball
Henry received threats after the controversial handballCredit: EPA

“Because on something that I didn’t think about doing, it was an instinct reaction, a bad instinct reaction that players do often when they are in and around the ball.

“You extend your arm and it comes out – I’m not saying it is right at all – but it comes out. But after? I’ll be honest with you, it was hard.

“It was hard because you’re receiving stuff like that at my ex-wife and because I got scared I put a bodyguard for my daughter – I never shared that, but you know, I’m sharing it now.

“Understand me well – please, understand me well – I’m not saying this to make what happened better or not better, it has nothing to do with anything.

“But that was hard. This is the stuff that people sometimes don’t understand, you don’t want to receive death threats. You don’t want to receive whatever – you don’t want your daughter to be targeted. You don’t want that.”


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