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How tough is the task ahead of Henry’s Monaco debut?

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PARIS (AP) Thierry Henry’s managerial career could hardly be starting under more challenging circumstances, with struggling Monaco leaking goals, hit by injuries and low on confidence.

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The French great, who started his glittering playing career at Monaco, takes over a side sitting 18th in the top flight.

Monaco has won just once in 11 games – including two defeats in the Champions League – and the poor run cost Leonardo Jardim his job .

“The reality is morale isn’t at its highest,” Henry said ahead of the trip to Strasbourg on Saturday.

Strasbourg is ninth and the Alsace-based side is hard to beat at home.

Henry will be without No. 1 goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and No. 2 Diego Benaglio – who are nursing thigh injuries and sat out Thursday’s training session.

Monaco also has two defenders suspended — Jemerson and Andrea Raggi — and another out injured, while Henry must decide whether to select veteran striker Radamel Falcao, who is returning late after playing for Colombia on Wednesday night.

Jardim often rested Falcao after internationals, but Henry may have no choice but to pick his leading scorer.

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Monaco won the domestic title and reached the Champions League semifinals in 2017, scoring more than 150 goals. However, the side Henry has inherited is a far cry from that swashbuckling team.

The 41-year-old Henry helped France win the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. He is the leading goal-scorer for his country and for Premier League Arsenal, and thrilled fans with his speed and skill.

He exudes confidence but, given Monaco’s precarious situation, he has little time to talk about his vision for the club.

“I prefer to think only of the present. What the team needs right now might not be what the team needs in two or three months. When things are calmer perhaps we can talk about those things,” Henry said.

“It’s not going to be easy to get the team to understand how I want to play. It’s always better to have the team at the start of the season, so they know the ideas.”

Henry was previously Belgium’s No. 2. During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he was praised by coach Roberto Martinez for his work helping fine-tune the squad’s fleet of forwards.

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His focus now is to shore up a Monaco defense which has leaked 13 goals in nine league games.

“We must become a team which doesn’t let in goals,” Henry said. “What the team needs now is security and balance.”

Because it’s his first job in charge, Henry will be relying on his backroom staff more than other coaches might.

“It’s important to have staff members who can say ‘no’ to you, challenge you on certain points, and perhaps have a different vision of things,” he said. “The most important thing is not having people around me who just say ‘yes, yes.'”

Monaco has a huge scouting network and a reputation for developing players before selling them on for massive profits. The best example is 19-year-old France forward Kylian Mbappe, who shone in 2017 before joining Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth $207 million.

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Henry knows how it feels to be a young star. He made his Monaco debut at the age of 17 in 1994 and four years later he was a World Cup winner — just like Mbappe is now .

“We live in a (different) generation,” Henry said. “When I grew up, you needed to make the first step to the senior players, the first step to the coach. Now, you have to go to the new generation, understand their codes. The way they (arrive) sometimes to training, the way they walk, the little lean they have … my coach would have sent me straight back to the dressing room (for that).

“Sometimes you have to laugh, sometimes you have to be hard and sometimes you have to let them be. The trick is when. If you stay stuck on the way you grew up, then there will be a fracture, that’s for sure. You have to adapt and be patient.”

Thierry Henry hired by reeling AS Monaco

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The rumors are true: Thierry Henry is going back to AS Monaco to help right a struggling ship.

Henry, 41, replaces Leonardo Jardim, bringing the good vibes that come with being a Monaco hero from his playing days.

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The club was where he launched his audacious and prolific career, and of course he is France’s all-time leading scorer.

Monaco CEO Vadim Vasilyev proffered these words via ASMonaco.com:

“His knowledge of football, his passion for the game, his high standards and his commitment to our colors make his nomination a reality. Thierry is both aware of the task ahead and eager to start his new job. He can count on our trust and all our support to bring a new dynamic to the team and carry out the mission.”

In addition to winning the “dress for the job you want” award, the former Belgium assistant will plan to win more than the one match claimed by Monaco in a terrible start to the Ligue 1 season.

Monaco has lost five of its nine league matches, and is winless in all competitions since Aug. 11. It started the season especially poorly, getting crushed by PSG in the Trophee des Champions by a 4-0 margin.

Monaco is off to Strasbourg on Oct. 20 for Henry’s first game in the hot seat.

They face Champions League matches against Club Brugge within his first five fixtures before hosting PSG on Nov. 11.

Assuming managerial life goes well enough for both, Henry will go head-to-head with old pal Patrick Vieira and Nice on Dec. 8.

Report: Former Arsenal star Henry favorite to be Monaco manager

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Thierry Henry’s first job as manager of a soccer team could be at one of his old stomping grounds.

Reports out of France and England have stated that the Arsenal legend is the favorite to be named the new manager of Monaco, after the club on the French Riviera sacked manager Leonardo Jardim following a poor start to the Ligue Un season. According to one report, Henry received encouragement to take the job from former Les Bleus teammate and current France National Team coach Didier Deschamps, though the report states there are still some details to iron out.

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Henry was subject of constant rumors and reports that he may take over at Aston Villa following Steve Bruce‘s dismissal, but the job eventually went to Dean Smith (no relation to the North Carolina basketball coach, as far as we know).

Since retiring in 2014 after four and a half seasons with the New York Red Bulls, Henry has held multiple coaching (and punditry) positions, mostly as a youth team coach at Arsenal working with different age levels. In 2016, he joined Roberto Martinez as an assistant coach with Belgium, and it was clear that he had the respect from Belgium’s star players during the 2018 World Cup. Since the World Cup, it’s seemed that Henry was looking for a full manager position either in England or abroad, but he was playing his cards close to the vest and waiting for the best opportunity.

Now two years off winning the Ligue 1 title under Jardim and with a squad that’s been decimated by sales across Europe, Monaco has struggled immensly this season. The club currently sit in the relegation zone in 18th place, with just six points out of its first nine games. The home loss to Rennes last weekend was the final straw after a ten-game winless and four-game losing streak at the start of this season that signaled the end of Jardim’s tenure.

Henry of course has plenty of history at Monaco. It’s the club where he first became a professional after graduating through the Clairfontaine and Monaco youth system, and he played a role as a left midfielder or left winger in Monaco’s 1996-1997 Ligue 1 title. He was also named France’s Young Player of the Year. His performances in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League helped get him into the France National Team, where he joined Deschamps as World Cup winners on home soil in 1998.

If Henry gets the job, he’ll need time as he has a major rebuilding job at hand. Two of the club’s stars, captain Radamel Falcao and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic are both on the wrong side of 30, and vice-captain Kamil Glik is 30-years-old currently. Defensively, the club has only kept one clean sheet in the last ten games and some of the new signings, Nacer Chadli, Antonio Barecca and Aleksandr Golovin have failed to produce as expected.

Report: Henry set to take Monaco job as Jardim shown door

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One of the most gifted talents in world soccer history could be taking the reins of a club known for developing such players.

Thierry Henry is about to get the keys to AS Monaco, the club that raised him, as the floundering French club is set to fire Leonardo Jardim according to ESPN.

[ PL ROUNDTABLE: The story so far ]

Monaco has just one win in nine matches to start the Ligue 1 season, and sits in 18th place. It’s also lost its first two Champions League matches of the group stage ahead of two must-win contests with Club Brugge.

Henry, 41, saw his star rise this summer as an assistant to Roberto Martinez in Belgium’s impressive World Cup run.

Monaco has sold an almost overwhelming amount of talent in the past few seasons, sending Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar, Fabinho, Terence Kongolo, Joao Moutinho, Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva, and oh my goodness I’m still typing.

Henry was reportedly offered the Bordeaux job earlier this season, but patience has paid off for the former Arsenal, Barcelona, and New York Red Bulls star.

Going the Zinedine Zidane route is intriguing for Monaco and Henry, who will not be expected to push the squad from a relegation fight to the title, and will have plenty of patience and the opportunity to either rescue the Champions League campaign or run the club into a Europa League experience.

With new pieces Aleksandr Golovin and Nacer Chadli joining Danijel Subasic, Kamil Glik, Youri Tielemans, and Radamel Falcao, the club will be fine in Ligue 1. And if Henry can develop youngsters like Moussa Sylla, Willem Geubbels, and Pietro Pellegri (when healthy), he’ll only grow his star in Europe. If he fails, so what? The club won’t be relegated and a native son will likely be viewed as a man in a bare cupboard situation.

Ranking the 30 Ballon d’Or nominees

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Which player deserved to be named the best in the world and win the 2018 Ballon d’Or?

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France Football released its 30-man shortlist for their award which salutes the top player on the planet each year. FIFA’s The Best award has become a contender for the Ballon d’Or, but this is still the top individual award that the elite want to win.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won five, so too has Lionel Messi as they hold the record for the most Ballon d’Or’s won by a single player.

But it seems that in 2018 their decade of dominance (either Ronaldo or Messi has won the award each year since 2008) will end and there will be a new player lifting the glorious golden trophy. And to imagine the likes of David De Gea, David Silva and Roberto Lewandowski didn’t even make the shortlist.

Below we have a go at ranking the 30 nominees on the shortlist, as Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is already absolutely crushing the fans’ vote on the website, with Messi in second.

You can vote online here for the award which is dished out in December, and here’s how we think the top 30 players in the world stack up based on their form in 2018.


1. Kylian Mbappe
2. Luka Modric
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
4. Lionel Messi
5. Antoine Griezmann
6. Mohamed Salah
7. Neymar
8. Eden Hazard
9. Kevin De Bruyne
10. N'Golo Kante
11. Raphael Varane
12. Harry Kane
13. Sergio Ramos
14. Luis Suarez
15. Ivan Rakitic
16. Sergio Aguero
17. Marcelo
18. Paul Pogba
19. Thibaut Courtois
20. Sadio Mane
21. Diego Godin
22. Isco
23. Edinson Cavani
24. Alisson
25. Mario Mandzukic
26. Hugo Lloris
27. Roberto Firmino
28. Gareth Bale
29. Karim Benzema
30. Jan Oblak