Soccer-Henry not solely to blame for France furore, says Messi

By Jean-Paul Couret

PARIS, Dec 6 - Thierry Henry should not solely be
blamed for his part in the controversial goal that sent France
to the 2010 World Cup finals, Ballon d'Or winner and Barcelona
team mate Lionel Messi said.

"I think Thierry did what he had to do, he apologised," the
Argentina forward told a news conference on Sunday after the
Ballon d'Or prize-giving ceremony organized in Paris by French
Magazine France Football and France TV channel TF1.

"I also believe that it was just an incident during a game
of football, the referee didn't see it, the linesman didn't see

"One shouldn't pin everything on Thierry," he added in
answering a question on FIFA's decision to investigate France
striker Henry's blatant handball against Ireland in their
playoff in Paris last month.

FIFA rejected Ireland's request for a replay after Henry's
actions helped France to get a 2-1 aggregate win.

Messi, who became the first Argentine to be awarded the
prestigious Ballon d'Or award on Dec. 1, helped treble-winning
Barcelona lift the Champions League title with nine goals, as
well as bagging 23 in the league and six in the King's Cup.

He said his main objective was now "to win the World Cup."

"We have been drawn in a difficult group because Nigeria
have some very good players and South Korea and Greece could be
a problem," he said.

"A (first knockout) game against France would be very
difficult because France are a great team but we'll have first
to concentrate on going through the first round."
(Editing by Justin Palmer; To query or comment on this story
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