Thierry Henry evades questions on retirement

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Thierry Henry has had a long and illustrious playing career, in France, Italy, Spain and now the United States. But has the time come for the 36-year-old to retire?

Gerard Houllier, global director for New York Red Bulls, implied as much. Naturally he was asked about Henry after the Red Bulls’ friendly victory over Arsenal. Here’s what he had to say:

“I’ll have a talk with Thierry soon and of course I’ll know. I have an idea, I think he wants to retire,” said Houllier according to Big Apple Soccer. “I think he wants to retire but we need to check with him. His performance today was good.”

Henry began his senior career under Arsène Wenger at Monaco in 1994, going on to score 20 goals for the club. He then moved to Juventus, but seemed not to fit well into Serie A, and quickly went back to Wenger, who was now at Arsenal. Henry spent nine years with the Gunners, ultimately captaining the side, collecting a host of individual awards and team trophies, and eventually getting a statue erected in his honor at the Emirates.

Henry then joined up with Barcelona, where he helped his side to two La Liga titles and the Champions League title. But by summer 2010 it was time for the forward to move once more, this time to Major League Soccer. He’s been with Red Bulls ever since, excepting a brief loan return to Arsenal.

So after such a long and illustrious career, it’s no wonder Houllier believes that Henry is most likely considering retirement. But when asked about his fellow Frenchman’s comments, Henry simply said “We’ll talk at the end of the season.”

Yes, many players do retire in their mid-thirties. But Frank Lampard, also 36, just signed for New York City FC, who won’t even start play until Lampard is almost 37. Didier Drogba, the same age, has just returned to Chelsea to continue his career. Perhaps the legendary Henry doesn’t need to hang up his boots just yet.

Mendy a doubt for start of Man City’s Premier League season

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High-flying left back Benjamin Mendy‘s Manchester City takeoff has been delayed by a thigh injury.

Pep Guardiola revealed Thursday that Mendy is doubtful for City’s Aug. 12 Premier League opener at Brighton and Hove Albion despite passing a medical to push through a $68 million move from Monaco.

Saying Mendy is “a little bit injured,” Guardiola said to expect an absence of two to three weeks.

[ MORE: LAFC hires Bob Bradley ]

The depth chart behind Mendy is incomplete, though City has added two right backs this offseason in Kyle Walker and Danilo.

The latter would be the front-runner to start in Mendy’s place, as he did in a 3-5-2 as Man City beat Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday.

Man City follows its opener at Brighton with a visit from Everton and a trip to Bournemouth.

Roma gives new 4-year deal to Premier League target Nainggolan

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Hard-nosed midfielder Rajda Nainggolan has been linked to Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but Thursday linked up long-term with his present club.

Nainggolan, 29, signed a new deal with AS Roma through the 2020-21 season, putting the Belgian box-to-box mid at the heart of i Lupi‘s plans to chase down Juventus.

[ MORE: Chatting with De Rossi ]

Nainggolan has been in the last two Serie A Best XIs.

The 29-times capped Belgian has six goals for his national team, and has 255 Serie A appearances between Cagliari and Roma. Nainggolan has 31 goals and 18 assists in those matches, scooping 62 yellows and two send-offs but never being handed straight red.

While it’s a perceived blow for his Premier League suitors, it’s a welcome retention for Roma. He’s arguably the reason Roma was ready to part with Michael Bradley in 2014, and you can see why: He plays right up to the line but knows right where it lies.

Too many fans: Udinese vs. Hannover friendly called off

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ST. VEIT, Austria (AP) Local authorities in southern Austria have called off Sunday’s friendly match between Udinese and Hannover as the estimated number of spectators exceeds the capacity of the stadium.

The city of St. Veit says about 4,000 fans, including 280 potential football hooligans, were expected for the game at the ground of local amateur club FC Alpe Adria, which has a capacity of 2,430.

St. Veit mayor Gerhard Mock says “it’s a shame … but security comes first.”

It’s not immediately clear whether the match between the Italian and German top-flight teams can be moved to a larger venue. Both Udinese and Hannover are having their preseason training camps in the province of Carinthia.

LIVE – Everton kick off Europa League campaign

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Wayne Rooney will play his first competitive game for Everton in 13 years.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores

That storyline will dominate Everton’s return to Europe as they kick off their 2017-18 UEFA Europa League campaign in front of a packed house at Goodison Park on Thursday.

The Toffees welcome Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok for the first leg of the third qualifying round as they aim to make it back to the group stage for the first time since 2014-15.

Click on the link above to follow not only Everton’s game but all of the Europa League qualifiers going on across Europe this afternoon with the likes of AC Milan, Fenerbache, PSV, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao all in action.

If Ronald Koeman‘s side successfully navigate their way past Ruzomberok then they will be in the play-off round which is the final hurdle before the group stage.