Henry handed reins to Monaco

New Monaco manager Thierry Henry (right) has been working as an assistant coach for the Belgian national team since 2016 under Roberto Martinez. He had previously been linked with the managerial roles at Girondins Bordeaux and Aston Villa
New Monaco manager Thierry Henry (right) has been working as an assistant coach for the Belgian national team since 2016 under Roberto Martinez. He had previously been linked with the managerial roles at Girondins Bordeaux and Aston Villa. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Former striker returns to boyhood club on three-year deal in first role as head coach

PARIS• Former France striker Thierry Henry is "extremely determined" after being given his first head coaching role when Monaco appointed him on a three-year deal to replace the sacked Leonardo Jardim yesterday.

Henry, who started out playing for Monaco and went on to enjoy a stellar club career with Arsenal and Barcelona, has been working as assistant coach for the Belgian national team since 2016 but has never been in charge of a team in his own right.

The 41-year-old played for the French Ligue One side for five seasons, winning a league title with them in 1997.

"I thank AS Monaco for giving me the opportunity to coach the team of this club which is so special to me," said Henry, who had previously been linked with Girondins Bordeaux and English second-tier side Aston Villa.

"I am very happy to come back to AS Monaco and extremely determined to meet the challenges ahead. I cannot wait to meet the players to start working together."

Monaco, last season's runners-up, are struggling in 18th in the Ligue One table after winning just one of their first nine games. They have also lost their opening two games in the Champions League.

"(Henry's) knowledge of football, his passion for the game, his high standards and his commitment to our colours make his nomination a reality," said Monaco's chief executive Vadim Vasilyev.

"Thierry is both aware of the task ahead and eager to start his new job. He can count on our trust and all our support to bring a new dynamic to the team."

Henry's input as an attacking coach during Belgium's run to the World Cup semi-finals - where they lost to France - also made an impression on the players he worked with.

"He loves football, he loves talking about what he has done, how things used to be, about his first World Cup. He has given me lots of advice to help me improve," said striker Michy Batshuayi.

Added Belgium coach Roberto Martinez: "Thierry has the potential to become a great coach."

Elsewhere in France, authorities are investigating whether a Champions League game between Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Belgrade was fixed. Both clubs deny any wrongdoing.

The probe came after French newspaper L'Equipe reported that a Red Star official was suspected of betting €5 million (S$8 million) on the team losing by five goals in a match PSG won 6-1. It is understood that European football's ruling body Uefa passed on the suspicions to the French authorities after the Oct 3 game at the Parc des Princes.

Despite its claims, L'Equipe added that no evidence had yet been found and that all options were possible, from match-fixing to false allegations.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 14, 2018, with the headline 'Henry handed reins to Monaco'. Print Edition | Subscribe