France's all-time leading scorer Thierry Henry has announced his retirement from international football in the wake of his decision to cross the Atlantic and join the New York Red Bulls.
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Thierry Henry has announced his retirement from international football, admitting that playing for France was incompatible with representing his new club, the New York Red Bulls.
The 32-year-old former AS Monaco FC, Arsenal FC and FC Barcelona striker said he would not aim to emulate David Beckham, who has endeavoured to continue his England career while playing for Los Angeles Galaxy, explaining: "I want to be here 100% of the time and fully committed to this cause and the organisation."
With 51 goals in 123 appearances, Henry stands down as France's all-time top scorer. Having made his debut in a 2-1 friendly win against South Africa on 11 October 1997, he had his final outing for Les Bleus against the same opponents in the 2-1 group-stage defeat which eliminated Raymond Domenech's side from the FIFA World Cup.
"That was my last game against South Africa," he said. "Ironically, my first game for the national team was also against South Africa." He said he had already decided to stop playing for France before the finals, but added: "I couldn't announce it beforehand because that's not the type of thing you do before a World Cup."
Having tasted victory at the 1996 UEFA European Under-18 Championship, Henry was one of the rising stars of the France squad that claimed gold medals at the 1998 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000.