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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 December 2005, 16:34 GMT
Henry shrugs off Barcelona talk
Theirry Henry

Thierry Henry has played down talk of reported interest from Barcelona and says he is totally focused on Arsenal's Champions League tie with Real Madrid.

Barca have hinted they want to sign the 28-year-old striker, whose deal expires in 2007, but he says he is focused on achieving success at Arsenal.

"I'm pleased people are interested but at the moment there's nothing ongoing," he told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"We have to concentrate on Europe before looking beyond it."

He admitted that this season was "proving difficult" following the summer sale of Patrick Vieira to Juventus but said the emergence of youngsters like Robin van Persie was a reason to be optimistic.

"I hope these young players can reach maturity as soon as possible," he added.

I adore watching Henry. He reminds me of myself

Before Christmas, Barca president Joan Laporta said they would "do all we can" to sign Henry.

Barcelona's world footballer of the year Ronaldinho added fuel to the fire when he said how much he would enjoy playing alongside the Frenchman.

"Henry is a beautiful player and has got complete technique," he said.

"I adore watching him. I respect him very much as a man and as a footballer. He reminds me of myself."

But Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was clearly upset by the Catalan club's comments.

"Laporta cannot make a statement like that. It shows a lack of respect," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"If they want to sign Thierry they have to call us because he is under contract for another 18 months."



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