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Friday, 25 June 2010

Thierry Henry and Nicolas Sarkozy meet - but why?

Mystery surrounds the meeting between the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and international striker Thierry Henry on Thursday with nobody certain as to who requested the talks let alone what the two men discussed.

Sarkozy's office insists it was the French striker who asked to speak to the president, and a report in the national daily le Monde even quotes a spokesman for Sarkozy as saying that indeed "Thierry Henry had rung from South Africa requesting a meeting when he returned to France."

But national radio RTL reports the story the other way round insisting that it was Sarkozy who rang Henry to set up the meeting.

One thing's for certain though, when France's most capped player (122 appearances) and leading international scorer (51 goals) arrived back from South Africa on Thursday with the rest of the team, a car was waiting to whisk him away to president's official residence, the Elysée palace.

Thierry Henry (source Wikipedia, photo Shay)

Although journalists were waiting at the main entrance to pose their questions before and after the meeting, Henry discreetly entered and left through a side gate and without saying a thing, and there have been no leaks as to what the two men discussed.

They certainly had plenty to talk about after the French team's disastrous performance in South Africa, and Henry, a former captain of Les Bleus and a member of the 1998 World Cup winning team and the side that went on to lift the European Football championship in 2000 is a man with a glittering football pedigree.

But the meeting between the two men received short shrift from Jean-Louis Vielajus, the president of Coordination Sud.

He and other environmental non-governmental organisations had been scheduled to see Sarkozy ahead of the G20 summit in Toronto, but as he said on the federation's website, as far as the French president was concerned, football took priority.

"For Nicolas Sarkozy, holding a meeting with a footballer is more important than the situation of three billion poor people in developing countries," Vielajus said.

"It sends out a bad signal as far as the political co-operation of France is concerned."

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