Arsenal legend Thierry Henry addresses fans and the media in Sandton ahead of tonight’s Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool. The former French striker is in South Africa as part of a sponsorship campaign. Photo: Nhlanhla Phillips /African News Agency/ANA
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry says the best team deserves to win tonight’s mouth-watering Champions League clash.
“I’m not leaning towards any team to be honest,” Henry told the Saturday Star at a sponsored event in Sandton.
“Everyone knows I’m Arsenal through and through, but Spurs have made the final and deserve to be where they are. It’s the same for Liverpool.
“You cannot take anything away from them. If they win the Champions League they deserve it, because of the fantastic campaign they’ve had.”
The Frenchman prefers to remain neutral about who could win the coveted title.
“The best team on the night deserves to win the trophy and that’s that.”
The former Barcelona and Arsenal striker arrived in South Africa on Thursday ahead of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Spurs.
Uefa Champions League sponsors Heineken have brought the 41-year-old to South Africa as part of their #unmissable moments campaign.
The initiative will give South African fans an opportunity to view the Champions League final with Henry at the Kyalami Race Track in Joburg.
Having spent most of his career playing in the English Premier League with Arsenal, Henry is delighted that tonight’s final is an all-English clash.
Liverpool and Tottenham meet in Madrid for the first all-English Champions League final since 2008, when Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties.
“I think it’s good for the league,” said Henry. “The dominance of the Spanish league was pretty strong in the past 10 years.
“If you look at teams that won the Europa League or Champions League, a lot of Spanish teams are there, so it’s really good for the English Premier League to finally put a stamp on Europe.
“People will be quick to tell you that the English Premier League is the best league in the world. But it helps if you have an English team winning the Champions League and Europa League, so this year no one can really question whether it’s the best league in the world.” The former France 1998 World Cup winner,is expecting a close game between the two English teams tonight. “I think for me, whoever wins the battle in midfield will have a great chance of winning the game. But having said that, the way the Champions League has gone this year, even if you are up 3-0 the game is not over, as we saw with Liverpool against Barcelona, so you never know.
“It’s difficult to call who will win, because both teams did incredibly well to reach the final and this years Champions League has been so unpredictable, so we’ll see how it goes. But the battle in midfield will be interesting.”
Meanwhile, he is delighted to be back in South Africa, and is looking forward to meeting his fans. “Nothing is different since the last time I came. People are very warm whenever I come.
“What surprised me the most is the happiness on peoples’ faces. People are always smiling and are happy here. We’re a bit more different in Europe, a bit more moody, but you guys are more lively and that’s nice.
“Hopefully the final will be good. That will depend on the actors on the field, and then we can engage and have a little bit of fun with the fans.”