Arsenal legend’s brand undamaged by handball against Ireland
The world of soccer may have been outraged by the deliberate handball that allowed France striker Thierry Henry to set up the goal that sealed World Cup qualification for France and condemned Ireland to defeat, but the Barcelona star's brand is undamaged, according to experts.
Henry, widely acclaimed as the greatest player in the history of Arsenal and one of the best to play for France and in the Premier League, controlled the ball with his hand before setting up William Gallas in Wednesday night's match.
'The clean-cut image that helped Mr. Henry net a deal with razor manufacturer Gillette has been tarnished, but as controversy rages around the Barcelona forward, sponsorship experts insist that the harm to his reputation won't extend to his off-field earnings,' reports the Wall Street Journal Europe.
Indeed, some experts have suggested that, as Henry's career winds down, the current furore could help his brand in his home country, comparing it to Zinedine Zidane's World Cup final headbutt on Marco Materazzi. "Zidane is a great example because after his headbutt he was still loved in France and still does many endorsements there - in fact it probably helped him there," Jeff Slack, a senior vice president at IMG, told the newspaper.
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"Thierry Henry's market is probably shifting from being a global endorser to somebody who's popular in France and maybe Spain and wherever he plays next, so it could end up making him more popular in those places," he added.
James Nunn, a spokesman for Gillette, told the newspaper: "It's not our place to comment on refereeing in a match but this is not going to affect our relationship with him."blog comments powered by Disqus
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