Football

Netflix's Anelka Documentary Has Some Very Interesting Takes On The Henry Handball

Netflix's Anelka Documentary Has Some Very Interesting Takes On The Henry Handball

Given the career of Nicolas Anelka - both on and off the pitch - it's arguable that the filmmakers of Netflix's new documentary Anelka: Misunderstood must have had some difficulty leaving out some footage.

However, in terms of the main points discussed, viewers get to witness Anelka's rise through the cutthroat environment of the Clairefontaine Academy, his prodigious debut at PSG where he was hailed as the next big thing, the striker's decision to join Arsenal and ultimately, cause a rift with the French football community.

Such is Anelka's remarkable career, all of this happens before his disappointment at being dropped from France's squad for the World Cup in '98!

Without getting into too much detail, there's still his time at Real Madrid, winning the Champions League and Euro 2000, his spells at Liverpool, Manchester City and Bolton, the Champions League penalty miss for Chelsea against Manchester United, and the debacle of France at World Cup 2010 to get stuck into.

However, for Irish fans, the play-offs ahead of the World Cup in South Africa will live long in the memory.

In fact, prior to that infamous night in Paris, it was a deflected strike from Anelka against Ireland at Croke Park that gave the French a 1-0 lead going into the second-leg at the Stade de France.

Prior to the return game in Paris, Thierry Henry and Anelka privately knew that they would be retiring from international football after the World Cup. However, if Ireland beat Les Bleus in Paris, their last game for France would have been against the boys in green.

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We all know what happened next.

In Anelka: Misunderstood, here's what Anelka had to say about the controversial goal:

"Then came that moment in the scramble, when Titi's (Henry's) hand touched the ball in the lead up to William's (Gallas) goal. The day we qualified, we were together and we were really happy. But the problems started the next day or the day after. Maybe other countries were going to give him (Henry) a hard time in the press, but the French too? We were expecting some support at least.

"But it was the exact opposite, it was an all-out massacre by everybody. He sacrificed himself for his country, to qualify for the World Cup and they spit on him. When it's Vata, it's ok. When it's Maradona, it's the hand of God. When it's Thierry Henry, it's the hand of hellfire."

During the documentary, former Leeds and France midfielder Olivier Dacourt also feels that Henry was victimised by the press in the aftermath of the game.

"When France qualified, I see how the media are treating Thierry Henry. He gets France qualified and then gets slaughtered, nobody is defending him," said Dacourt.

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Speaking about the goal in the Netflix documentary, Thierry Henry offers a very brief soundbite about the day after the match which states: "It was not easy, not easy on a personal level. But hey, we're there. You deal with it."

However, Henry's handball still doesn't sit right with France's World Cup-winning left-back, Bixente Lizarazu.

'"I'm not very happy about what happened. I still have that same sick feeling," said the former Bayern Munich and Bordeaux defender.

Anelka: Misunderstood is now available to watch on Netflix.

SEE ALSO: WATCH: Netflix's Documentary On Nicolas Anelka Puts The Controversy Front And Centre

Paul Moore

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