Mesut Ozil Quits International Football

Mesut Ozil on Sunday said he was quitting the German national football team, citing “racism” in the criticism of him after the side’s World Cup debacle.

Ozil, who has Turkish roots, had been under fire since posing for a controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May which sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s squad ahead of the tournament in Russia.

In a four-page statement sent out in three images on Twitter and Instagram, an angry Ozil saved his bombshell for the final salvo.

“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect,” he said.

The Arsenal midfielder blamed the German Football Federation (DFB) for failing to defend him against his most strident critics.

“Arguably the issue that has frustrated me the most over the past couple of months has been the mistreatment from the DFB, and in particular the DFB President Richard Grindel,” he said.

He said that Grindel and Germany coach Joachim Loew had asked him to give a “joint statement to end all the talk and set the record straight” over the picture with Erdogan.

“Whilst I attempted to explain to Grindel my heritage, ancestry and therefore reasoning behind the photo, he was far more interested in speaking about his own political views and belittling my opinion.”

Ozil, 29, said he had been unfairly blamed in Germany for the side’s shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.

“I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his (Grindel’s) incompetence and inability to do his job properly,” he said.

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”

Ozil had said earlier that he was true to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement by appearing with Erdogan.

‘I have two hearts’
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.

“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”

Ozil said that despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country”.

“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil added.

Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.

Manchester City midfielder Gundogan presented Erdogan with a signed club shirt on which he had written “to my president”.

The two players were booed by German fans in pre-World Cup friendlies over their appearance with the Turkish strongman, and Ozil said Sunday that he had his family had received threats.

After the tournament, Ozil came in for stinging criticism by DFB officials and German politicians across the spectrum.

‘Right-wing propaganda’
Ozil said he could abide criticism of his performance on the pitch but not when it was linked to his ethnic background.

“If a newspaper or pundit finds fault in a game I play in, then I can accept this,” he said.

“But what I can’t accept are German media outlets repeatedly blaming my dual-heritage and a simple picture for a bad World Cup on behalf of an entire squad,” he added, calling it “right-wing propaganda”.

“This crosses a personal line that should never be crossed, as newspapers try to turn the nation of Germany against me.”

He also furiously denounced disparaging remarks by former captain Lothar Matthaeus, who he noted “met with another world leader a few days back and received almost no media criticism” in an apparent reference to an appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And Ozil railed against an unnamed sponsor, which, he said, removed him from promotional videos for the World Cup after the pictures with Erdogan emerged.

“For them, it was no longer good to be seen with me and (they) called the situation ‘crisis management’,” he said.he was quitting the German national football team, citing “racism” in the criticism of him after the side’s World Cup debacle.

Ozil, who has Turkish roots, had been under fire since posing for a controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May which sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s squad ahead of the tournament in Russia.

In a four-page statement sent out in three images on Twitter and Instagram, an angry Ozil saved his bombshell for the final salvo.

“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect,” he said.

The Arsenal midfielder blamed the German Football Federation (DFB) for failing to defend him against his most strident critics.

“Arguably the issue that has frustrated me the most over the past couple of months has been the mistreatment from the DFB, and in particular the DFB President Richard Grindel,” he said.

He said that Grindel and Germany coach Joachim Loew had asked him to give a “joint statement to end all the talk and set the record straight” over the picture with Erdogan.

“Whilst I attempted to explain to Grindel my heritage, ancestry and therefore reasoning behind the photo, he was far more interested in speaking about his own political views and belittling my opinion.”

Ozil, 29, said he had been unfairly blamed in Germany for the side’s shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.

“I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his (Grindel’s) incompetence and inability to do his job properly,” he said.

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”

Ozil had said earlier that he was true to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement by appearing with Erdogan.

‘I have two hearts’
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.

“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”

Ozil said that despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country”.

“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil added.

Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.

Manchester City midfielder Gundogan presented Erdogan with a signed club shirt on which he had written “to my president”.

The two players were booed by German fans in pre-World Cup friendlies over their appearance with the Turkish strongman, and Ozil said Sunday that he had his family had received threats.

After the tournament, Ozil came in for stinging criticism by DFB officials and German politicians across the spectrum.

‘Right-wing propaganda’
Ozil said he could abide criticism of his performance on the pitch but not when it was linked to his ethnic background.

“If a newspaper or pundit finds fault in a game I play in, then I can accept this,” he said.

“But what I can’t accept are German media outlets repeatedly blaming my dual-heritage and a simple picture for a bad World Cup on behalf of an entire squad,” he added, calling it “right-wing propaganda”.

“This crosses a personal line that should never be crossed, as newspapers try to turn the nation of Germany against me.”

He also furiously denounced disparaging remarks by former captain Lothar Matthaeus, who he noted “met with another world leader a few days back and received almost no media criticism” in an apparent reference to an appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And Ozil railed against an unnamed sponsor, which, he said, removed him from promotional videos for the World Cup after the pictures with Erdogan emerged.

“For them, it was no longer good to be seen with me and (they) called the situation ‘crisis management’,” he said.

New Zealand Retains Women’s World Cup for the Second Time

New Zealand retained their women’s World Cup Sevens crown here Saturday, beating France 29-0 in the final to claim the title for a second time.

Michaela Blyde was the star for the Black Ferns with a brilliant hat-trick as the New Zealanders outclassed the French at AT&T Park.

Blyde’s treble took her tally to the tournament to nine tries for the weekend, crowning a superb tournament for the 22-year-old.

France, who had earlier stunned Olympic champions Australia to reach the final for the first time, were never in contention.

New Zealand dominated the first half and took the lead when Blyde crossed in the corner for an unconverted score to make it 5-0.

France tackled ferociously in an attempt to pin the New Zealand women back in their own half but soon found themselves another try down when captain Sarah Goss broke clear and swept forward in an attack capped by Portia Woodman’s try in the corner.

Tyla Nathan-Wong then extended New Zealand’s lead after sniping up the blind side from a ruck to catch the French defence napping for the simplest of scores to make it 15-0 at the break.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with France tackling bravely but unable to win any sustained possession against the skillful New Zealand women.

Eventually New Zealand’s patient passing game yielded a second try for Blyde, who scampered in for a converted to make it 22-0.

Blyde then completed her hat-trick on the stroke of full-time as the French defence was split open to seal an emphatic New Zealand win.

(AFP)

Vinicius to fight for Place in Real Madrid First Team

Vinicius Junior has said he is ready to fight for a place in the Real Madrid first team and will work hard to adapt as quickly as possible.

Vinicius joined up with Madrid for preseason training, with FIFA rules meaning he had to wait until he was 18 before a €45 million transfer, agreed last summer with Flamengo, could go through.

Madrid were reported to be considering loaning him out next season, but he said he expected to remain at the club.

“I am staying at Real Madrid with the first team,” he said. “I will play some games with Castilla [the youth team] to adapt as quickly as possible.

“I can do everything I did at Flamengo, and do better. I will show I am ready to play and show everything possible as quickly as I can. I know the adaptation will not be easy, but I am ready to do whatever is necessary.

“I am coming from Flamengo, another club with a lot of pressure. The people around me are here to help me with this. I never think of failing, just succeeding, winning as much as possible.”

Vinicius Jnr shows his skills at his Real Madrid unveiling. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images
Vinicius has spent the week training under new Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui ahead of the International Champions Cup in the United States.

“Football is a bit different here, but coach Lopetegui is helping me a lot, telling me what I must do, how I can improve,” he said. “This is the best opportunity a football player can have.

“I will sacrifice a lot to show I deserve this opportunity. But sacrifice is not something new for me. I come from a very simple family, and am very proud of all they did for me and the values they have taught me.”

Asked whether it was a shame to have missed out on being a teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Madrid for Juventus, he said: “Cristiano Ronaldo is a legend of Real Madrid.

“But I am very happy to be alongside [Karim] Benzema, [Gareth] Bale, the players I will play with in the future. The best players in the world are here.”

Compatriot Neymar has said he will stay at Paris Saint-Germain despite speculation that he could move to the Bernabeu, and Vinicius said he was “my idol.”

“I dream of playing with Neymar, and if God wills it, I will play with him soon for Brazil,” he said.

Madrid legend Ronaldo Nazario, meanwhile, told his countryman he was at the best place to make progress in his career.

“Here is where I was most happy playing football and won many things,” he said. “Maybe it will be difficult at the start, but this the best place you can be.”

Madrid president Florentino Perez praised the new addition to his club’s ranks, saying: “We said the other day that we would add magnificent players to our squad, and that is what we are doing with Alvaro Odriozola and now with Vinicius.

“Vinicius is one of the great hopes of Brazilian football and world football, but who is already a reality and was wanted by Europe’s biggest clubs.”

FG Airlifts 152 Nigerian World Cup Fans Stranded In Russia

The Federal Government has evacuated 152 out of the over 230 Nigerians who were stranded in Russia after the 2018 World Cup tournament.

The football fans boarded an Ethiopian aircraft on Friday morning and were expected to arrive Abuja by 6pm.

Some media had reported the evacuation on Thursday, whereas the true position of things is that the stranded Nigerians were actually airlifted on Friday morning.

The media also erroneously reported 230 fans as having been evacuated, whereas only 152 have been airlifted so far.

The evacuation, which was being carried out by the Ministry of Aviation, followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the men should be brought back to the country.

Further to this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has been monitoring the process of the evacuation, which is under the coordination of the Mission of Nigeria in Moscow.

The ministry spokesman, Tope Elias-Fatile, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday night, disclosed that over 230 stranded Nigerians had been cleared to board an Ethiopian Airline flight to Abuja.

The aircraft arrived Moscow from Addis Ababa at 13.20 hours (local time) earlier on Thursday and departed Domodedovo Airport in Moscow with the stranded Nigerians at 08.30 on Friday.

The stranded football fans had besieged the Embassy of Nigeria in
Moscow on July 12 claiming they were defrauded of their return tickets.

They alleged that some airline travel agents cancelled their return tickets without their knowledge.

“Consequently, the Nigerian Mission submitted a formal complaint to the host authorities against the airlines that brought the stranded Nigerians to the Russian Federation, especially those without return tickets and highlighted that it contravened the rules and regulations of the International Air Transport Association.

“The Mission also made arrangements for the feeding and accommodation of the stranded Nigerians in hostels around Moscow,” the ministry explained, adding that it would continue to monitor the evacuation process.

Sadio Mane To Wear No. 10 For New Season

Sadio Mane will wear the No.10 shirt for Liverpool for the 2018-19 season.

The Senegal international has switched from his previous number, 19, which he has worn since joining the club from Southampton in 2016, ahead of the new campaign.

Mane now takes up the No.10 jersey vacated by Philippe Coutinho upon his move to FC Barcelona in January, which has also been worn by John Barnes, Joe Cole, Luis Garcia, Michael Owen and Andriy Voronin during the Premier League era.

Mane represented Senegal at the just concluded World Cup where he scored one goal. The Premier League resumes on 11th August 2018 and Liverpool’s first fixture is against West Ham.

Juventus Sell Out $60m Worth Of Cristiano Ronaldo Jerseys In A Day

Juventus has sold 520,000 Cristiano Ronaldo ‘7’ jerseys in just 24 hours after he signed for the Italian club.

According to Yahoo Italy reports that the official Ronaldo jerseys which cost about $120, has raked in $62.4 million in total revenue almost half his transfer fee paid to his former club. The Portuguese and five-time Ballon d’Or winner, 33, signed for Juventus from Real Madrid in a four-year contract for 100 million euros last week.

On signing for the club, he said: I’m a person who likes to think about the present,” he said.

“I’m still very young and I always liked the challenges, from Sporting to Manchester (United), to Real (Madrid) and now Juventus.

“It was a well thought-out decision. It is the best club in Italy. It has an outstanding manager (Massimiliano Allegri) and coaches so it was not a difficult decision to take.

“I am very ambitious and I like new challenges. I hope everything will go very well. Luck always helps but you have to look for it.”

Football Legend Gianfranco Zola Return To Stamford Bridge As Assistant Manager

Chelsea football legend, Gianfranco Zola has returned to Stamford Bridge to become Maurizio Sarris assistant manager.

‘Welcome home, Gianfranco Zola!,’ the club wrote on Instagram. ‘The Chelsea legend joins Maurizio Sarri’s staff as assistant first team coach!’

‘For me it is an amazing thing,’ Zola told Chelsea’s official website. ‘I am very willing to work hard because it is going to be a difficult challenge but I am pleased to be here, and to work hard with Maurizio to be successful.

‘It would be great to be successful with Maurizio and for the club and I will give my best, as I did in the past as a player, so I will give my best in my new position.

‘I am very much looking forward to the challenge in general. I would love us to start well and we are all very excited to start this new adventure.’

Zola, who spent seven years at Chelsea from 1996 until 2003 and scored 69 goals, will become Sarri’s No 2 at the club.

Russia 2018: At Last, The ‘War’ Is Over By Tayo Ogunbiyi

Amidst a most stunning ambiance, the 23rd edition of Federation of International Football Associations, FIFA, World Cup, tagged Russia 2018, came to a scintillating close on Sunday, July 15 at the 81,000 capacity Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow. In the past one month, football fans across the world have watched with great excitement as 32 nations locked horns for the coveted 18 carats gold FIFA World Cup trophy.

The closing ceremony of the Russia 2018 World Cup was as exhilarating as the entire competition itself. Famous Nollywood star, Will Smith, US-born singer Nicky Jam, Russian opera, singer Aida Garifullina, legendary Brazilian soccer idol, Ronaldinho and German 2014 World Cup winning captain, Philip Lahm, were part of the galaxy of stars that added colour, splendor and elegance to the closing ceremony of what many have termed a most breathtaking World Cup.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, his French and Croatian counterparts Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (what a dazzling and charming woman!) were among world leaders that witnessed the last match of Russia 2018.

The final match of the championship between France and Croatia was as impressive, action packed and spectacular as almost all the 64 matches witnessed at Russia2018. In the match that recorded six fascinating goals, the French national team came top by trashing a resilient and toughened Croatian side 4-2. With this victory, and having won her first World Cup title in 1998, France has now recorded a second triumph at the elite global soccer fiesta. Interestingly, the victory has equally put French coach, Didier Dechamps, in the league of Brazilian Mario Zagallo and German Franz Beckenbauer as those who have won the World Cup as both a player and a manager.

Since Uruguay hosted the first edition of the World Cup in 1930, during the era of revered FIFA President, Jules Rimet, the competition has continued to grow in leap and bound. From a 13 team event, with which it started in 1930, it grew to become a 32 team affair during the 1998 edition in France. Today, the World Cup commands a global TV audience in excess of one billion.

The 2018 Russia World Cup is particularly unique in many ways. For one, through the introduction of the controversial VAR (Video Assistance Referees), it is the first World Cup in which technology was deployed to assist referees in making crucial decisions. VAR is seen by many as a worthwhile invention that would ensure fairness by reducing human errors usually associated with football officiating at the highest level.

Another uniqueness of the Russia 2018 is in the flawless manner of its organization as well as reported hospitable temperament of Russians who were really good hosts. Prior to the eventual take off of the competition and based on certain stereotyped tales that were in circulation about Russia, many have doubted the ability of Putin country to host a memorable and eventful World Cup. But then, events of the past month seem to have proved cynics wrong as the Russians have not only hosted a great Mundial, but have also razzmatazz the whole world as regards the exquisiteness of their country.

In terms of security and safety concerns, Russia 2018 also proved to be an incredible event. The initial fear of many about the event bothered on the safety of visiting soccer fans across the world at Russia. As things eventually turned out, there was no major security breach worthy of note throughout the duration of the competition. Fans’ hooliganism was completely out of the equation. The usually cantankerous German and English soccer fans strangely turned a new leaf at the Mundial. Hence, at Russia 2018, worry over fans hooliganism was simply not a major concern.

Strictly in terms of footballing stuff, more than ever before, Russia 2018 has shown that football is more of a team event, and as such, individual brilliance and talents no longer count for too much. For instance, the Croatian, Japanese, Korean, Iceland and a few other national teams that came up with a closely knitted side thoroughly passed home the message that football is no longer about the number of superstars that are in a team but about how well a team plays together as a unit.

In particular, the Croatian team that got to the final amply exemplified teamwork as a major base for success in football as it got that far in the championship not on the basis of the individuality of its players but on the strength of joint effort. Unlike the Brazilians, Argentines and other such teams that depended mostly on the strength of their individual players to thrive at the championship, the Croatian team is an amazing study in team solidarity and group effectiveness.

Russia 2018 also sufficiently demonstrated to the soccer world that the days when so called bigger soccer nations could just stroll into a major soccer championship in sheer arrogance, expecting unhindered success, might be over for now. At the Mundial, big footballing nations such as Germany, Argentina, Spain and Brazil got the shocks of a lifetime as they all unceremoniously exited the competition when it was least expected.

As for the English team, which most pundits agreed actually over achieved at the Mundial, it becomes quite clearer that if football were to ultimately come home, as it was excitedly chorused by English fans in the course of the competition, it would be through sterling (unfortunately English Raheem Sterling didn’t come to the party at Russia) performances on the pitch. Not through overly over hyped media crusade.

Back home, the pains of the Super Eagles’ disappointing outing at the Mundial have since subsided. Sadly, we don’t seem to have learnt much from our below par show as the nation’s football house is once again being immersed in needless leadership squabbles that portend great danger for our football. Regrettably, appropriate authorities seem not to be managing current footballing crisis with required tact and speed. Characteristically, it is only when FIFA hammer comes dangling that those concerned would start running helter and skelter.

Meanwhile, congratulations to France for deservedly winning the World Cup and also kudos to Russia for hosting an amazing Mundial. As the soccer world awaits what Qatar has to offer in 2022, football fans would continue to relish and savour some of the most astounding memories of Russia 2018. One of such, for me, is the image of dashing Croatia President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović tenderly patting France President, Emmanuel Macron on the head at the final. On the sight of the noticeable Macron- Kitarović show, a naughty commentator said: “What Russia has joined together”. One could not but chuckle at the prospect of such amusing remark. Goodbye Russia 2018!

Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa Ikeja

Cristiano Ronaldo: Players Of My Age Go To Qatar Or China

Cristiano Ronaldo says he is “grateful for the opportunity” given to him by Juventus, as players of his age “usually go to Qatar or China”.

The 33-year-old Portugal forward has joined the Italian champions for £99.2m after nine years at Real Madrid.

“To come to this club at this stage of my career, I am very happy,” he said at his presentation in Turin.

Ronaldo also said he hopes to be the “lucky star” as the Italian side attempt to win the Champions League.

He added he had not received any other offers.

Ronaldo scored a club record 450 goals for Real – winning four Champions Leagues and La Liga twice – having joined from Manchester United in 2009.

A five-time Ballon d’Or winner – including last year – he led Portugal to victory at the 2016 European Championship.

“I want to win,” he said. “I want to be the best. Who knows, maybe I will be awarded the Ballon d’Or again but things will happen naturally.

“It was difficult to win it in Manchester and Real Madrid, but maybe here? We will see.”

Ronaldo said there were “many important things” that contributed to his decision.

“I am well – physically, mentally and emotionally,” he said. “That is why I am so proud of being here and the way I have come here.

“I am different from all the other players who think that their career is over at my age, but I want to show the others that I am different. It is very emotional for me at the club now because I am not 23, I am 33.

“It gives me so much momentum for the future.”

10 FIFA 2018 World Cup Stats-Facts

France clinched their second FIFA World Cup title winning a scintillating final 4-2 against Croatia that epitomised a tournament packed with drama, goals, glory and heartache.

Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann both took their World Cup goal tallies to four with strikes in the Moscow showpiece, while Paul Pogba scored his only goal of the 2018 competition and Mario Mandzukic put through his own net to make France the first team to score four in a final since Brazil in 1970.

Didier Deschamps’ men won all but one of their seven matches en route to lifting the game’s most coveted trophy for the first time in 20 years, scoring 14 goals and conceding six, while Croatia claimed the unwanted record of being the first team in 44 years to lose in their first World Cup final.

But it wasn’t just the finalists who racked up the numbers across the course of an entertaining tournament that was statistically remarkable – and even better to watch.

Below are some of the statistics that went unnoticed….

1 – Croatia are the first team to lose in their debut appearance in a World Cup final since Netherlands in 1974 (2-1 against Germany).

2 – England finally won a penalty shoot-out at the World Cup for the first time since 1990. The Three Lions won a penalty shoot-out at the World Cup for the first time following their match against Colombia in the last 16.

3 – Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic also became the first player to score an own goal in the final of the FIFA World Cup.

2 – The two winners of the Ballon D’Or in the last decade Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have not scored a goal in a World Cup knockout match, with both failing to end their drought in Russia. Ronaldo is on a six game World Cup knockout match drought while Messi is on eight games.

3 – Germany became the third successive defending champions to be eliminated in the group stages of the competition after Spain four years ago and Italy in 2010.

4 – Didier Deschamps is the third person to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager, after Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer with Germany.

5 – France became the first team to score four goals in a World Cup final since Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in 1970.

6 – Brazil have been eliminated by a European nation in each of the last four World Cup tournaments (France in 2006, Netherlands in 2010, Germany in 2014 and Belgium in 2018).

7 – Rafael Marquez featured in his fifth World Cup (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018), becoming just the third player to achieve this feat along with Mexican compatriot Antonio Carbajal (1950, 1954, 1958, 1962 and 1966) and Germany’s Lothar Matthaus (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998).

8 – Russia’s victory against Saudi Arabia on matchday one means the host nation has never lost their opening match in any of the 21 editions of the World Cup (16 wins, 6 draws, no losses).

9 – Cristiano Ronaldo is the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history, with the Portuguese star aged 33 years and 130 days when netted his treble against Spain – the previous record holder was Rob Rensenbrink in 1978 for Netherlands against Iran (30 years, 335 days).

10 – Mexico’s Rafael Marquez also became the oldest outfield player to start a World Cup knockout match since 1954, at age 39 years, 139 days. Stanley Matthews (39years, 145 days) in 1954 for England v Uruguay was the last player to achieve that feat.

Henry Quits Pundit Role To Focus On Managerial Career

France And Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry, has announced that he will quit his role as a football pundit at SkySports.

Henry joined Sky Sports as a football expert and ambassador after he retired from active football in 2015.

He was appointed as a third assistant coach to Roberto Martínez when the Spaniard was name Belgium’s new manager in 2016.

Henry’s role as an assistant manager with Belgium saw him help the Red Devils to third place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

“Over the last 4 years I have had some extremely rewarding coaching experiences in football. These experiences have only made me more determined to fulfil my long term ambition to become a football manager,” Henry tweeted on Monday.

“It is with sadness, therefore, that I have decided that I must leave @SkySports to enable me to spend more time on the pitch and concentrate on my journey to achieving that goal.

“I would like to thank everyone at Sky for making me feel so welcome and at ease throughout my time with them and I wish them all the best for the future. Great memories.”

Henry lifted more than 35 major individual and team trophies including the World Cup and European Championship for France, the Champions League and La Liga with Barcelona, the Premier League and FA Cup at Arsenal, the French League at Monaco and the MLS Shield with the New York Red Bulls.

He was twice winner of the European Golden boot, four-time winner of the English Premier League Golden Boot, five-time$ winner of the French Player of the Year, three-time winner of the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year at Arsenal, and twice winner of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

He is the all-time leading goalscorer in the history of both Arsenal and France. He was also an integral member of the historic Arsenal Premier League-winning ‘Invincible’ team of 2004.