Football: Henry has no right to criticise goal celebrations, says former team-mate Leboeuf

THEY may have shared a long and profitable friendship on and off the field, but Frank Leboeuf believes former France team-mate Thierry Henry misfired with his criticism of Javier Hernandez's late winner for Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

The striker-turned-pundit had hit out at Hernandez for not acknowledging team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo for setting up the goal, and celebrating "like he has just won the World Cup" after guiding the Spanish giants into the Champions League semi-finals.

But Leboeuf felt footballers can be overcome by emotion and had the right to celebrate as they see fit. He noted how Henry - Arsenal's all-time record scorer with 174 strikes in 254 appearances - "always seemed to be upset" when he found the net during his playing days.

"And now Thierry is criticising others - I find that a bit funny," the former Chelsea defender, 47, told The Straits Times on Saturday. "I never understood a guy not thanking his team-mate but we see that so many times, it's just the way football is today."

The 1998 World Cup winner is in town as a guest of furniture giant Courts, in celebration of Singapore's 50th birthday.

Leboeuf, who has transitioned to acting and recently had a cameo in Oscar-nominated biopic The Theory Of Everything, shared his musings after taking the MRT for the first time on Friday evening.

He said: "I always feel that football is a mirror of society, which has become very selfish. On the train, everyone had their eyes hooked on their phones. No one was talking to each other.

"That's the problem with footballers today. It doesn't help a collective sport when players are thinking only of themselves and not their team."