Monaco coach Thierry Henry suspended, faces axe
Monaco, Jan 25 (AFP) Thierry Henry was suspended from his role as coach of struggling Ligue 1 side Monaco with the former French international striker expected to be quickly axed.
"Henry has been suspended until a definitive decision is made," Monaco said in a statement on Thursday, adding assistant coach Franck Passi would oversee training on Friday ahead of their trip to fellow strugglers Dijon.
Henry, 41, was suspended by Monaco, who are second-from-bottom in the French top division with 15 points, after the former Arsenal and France striker earned the Principality club just two league wins since his arrival in October.
He took up the post with the 2017 French champions in October following the sacking of title-winner Leonardo Jardim but failed to improve on the poor start to the campaign by his predecessor.
Ironically, Jardim was already being tipped on Thursday as Henry's successor as Monaco battle to beat the drop.
The club's decision to dispose off Henry would have come as a shock if his comments at his scheduled weekly news conference earlier in the day were any indiaction.
"My future is not a problem," Henry told reporters.
However, his anticipated departure will not come cheap.
He was reported to be earning an estimated 3.2 million euros a year. With two and a half years still left on his contract, Monaco's owners face having to pay out another eight million as compensation.
Henry was also believed to have upset the club hierarchy with some of his public comments.
"When I arrived, the club was in a mess, I tried to do a lot of things which you did not see," he said Thursday.
"I am also expecting a striker," he added when discussing his desire to reinforce the squad ahead of next week's closing of the transfer window. Henry's fate drew some sympathy from other stars.
- 'Somewhat disrespectful' -
"See that @ThierryHenry has been suspended from his coaching duties at Monaco whilst the club decides what to do with him. Seems a tad humiliating and somewhat disrespectful to treat an absolute legend that way. If you're going fire him, then fire him," tweeted former England and Barcelona star Gary Lineker.
Monaco are two points behind Dijon, who are 18th and a further point from safety, after collecting only three wins from 21 matches, and crashed out of Europe early after finishing bottom of Champions League Group A with just a single point.
Their miserable form under Henry culminated in a humiliating 3-1 French Cup defeat to second-tier Metz on Tuesday and a 5-1 home Ligue 1 hammering by Strasbourg last weekend, during which the tension surrounding Henry began to show.
Henry was forced to apologise after being caught calling Strasbourg defender Kenny Lala's grandmother "a whore" after he delayed a throw-in with the score still 2-1.
Monaco have brought in players in the transfer window but Henry's former Arsenal teammate Cesc Fabregas -- who arrived from Chelsea -- was at fault for Strasbourg's third, while fellow new arrival Naldo left them with an uphill battle after being sent off in the seventh minute.
However escape from the relegation zone is possible as the two sides immediately outside the bottom three -- Caen and Amiens -- face Champions League-chasing Montpellier and Lyon and can be caught should the pair lose to their high-flying opponents and Monaco beat Dijon