Thierry Henry has responded to claims from former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand that his goalscoring form had a major impact on Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Ferdinand revealed in March that ex-United striker van Nistelrooy would be upset whenever Henry scored for Arsenal, due to their competition for the Premier League Golden Boot award.
Van Nistelrooy won the Golden Boot just once in his five seasons in the Premier League, despite his impressive record of scoring 95 goals in 150 league games for United.
Henry, however, says the rivalry between the two strikers meant less to him, as he focused on getting assists if it helped his team as well.
“It became a story between me and him because it was always him or me [to win the Golden Boot] but I don’t know if you remember I used to give penalties away… I used to give penalties away!” Henry said on an Instagram Live.
“When Edu played his last game for Arsenal and I was battling with Ruud van Nistelrooy for the Golden Boot I gave him the penalty.
“It’s because you ask me the question don’t get me wrong… but if you look at the number of my assists I gave in the game and sometimes I was in front of the goal and I squared it that would answer that question [if he was as obsessed about the Golden Boot].
“I would not have all those assists if I was only just thinking about the Golden Boot.
“When I was upset was if I didn’t give an assist or I didn’t score.
“Then I felt I didn’t help my team. Sometimes you can be amazing in a game without a goal and assist, sometimes really poor with a goal and assist so it depends on what people value.
“If I didn’t help my team in any shape that’s when I come on the bus and put my head down, maybe saying stuff I shouldn’t be saying because I get upset with myself.
“There’s a game in Sunderland where we were sure to be in Champions League and I gave [Freddie] Ljungberg three assists in the game and Ruud passed me with a goal.
“I could be greedy and play for myself but that’s how the game is. Ruud was an amazing striker, I had so many battles with him, he was a striker playing in an amazing team.”