My mates from the streets are in jail. My strict parents saved me from that life Published: 19 Dec 2008 The Sun TODAY World Cup winner Thierry Henry bares his soul as never before. He tells of the pain of his divorce, his love for his daughter and how his parents control kept him out of jail. LOVE is necessary, very important, says Thierry. A divorce is never easy, even more so with a daughter in the middle. He is still suffering the aftermath of his painful split from wife Nicole Merry, a British model. It came as he left for Barcelona after nine glory-filled years with Arsenal in north London. His divorce was finalised a year ago this month. He says: What I admire in a woman is that at first sight she will know shes my soulmate. When I was young I looked at other things, but not any more. Its difficult to find it, much more so in my case, difficult emotionally. When I say the truth or what I feel its difficult to understand me because Im a complicated person. Before I got angry for nothing and now I contain myself more. Thierry is a doting dad to three-year-old daughter Téa, despite the marriage break-up. He says: Until you have your daughter in your arms you dont know what it means. Its indescribable. You just cant understand it if you dont have kids. Before I only thought of my career and in dedicating all my time for my own things and suddenly your entire scale of values changes. Its good to go deep into other things. Its tiring to talk only about football. Talking about other things, the city, my roots, what I think, that is how you can get to know a man. I was born in Les Ulis, a suburb a few kilometres from Paris. I learnt many things on the streets. If I could choose I would relive everything I lived there. "I am who I am thanks to my father. I saw very hard things in my childhood but fortunately I had parents that were very straight. I couldnt understand why my friends could go out at night. I could see them from the window. It frustrated me. While they were having fun outside I was asking my mother why I couldnt go out. It hurt a lot. Almost all of my friends from that time are now in prison. It wasnt easy to get out of that life. Inspiring ... back in Les Ulis If youre a father you have to be hard in a suburb like that. Our suburb was complicated but not a slum. There are many youngsters who dont listen to their parents, and that is a problem. My parents were very hard and thats why I was able to get ahead. Thierrys mother is called Maryse, his father Antoine. His two brothers are Willy much older, and Dimitry much youger. The star says: My father left home when I was eight and I left the neighbourhood, although I never stopped seeing him. When I came out of Les Ulis I saw clearly that my life should go in a straight line. I understood that I had to do something. I was alone at home with my mother, Willy was in the army. The people dont understand why Im a loner but its for that reason. I was alone at home at 11 years old. I felt like I was an only child. I couldnt go out and that is why I like being alone. Fortunately football was an escape route. I started playing thanks to my dad. I was only trying to make him happy. He took me to the ground and I could see that when I played he was more happy than me. Every child wants to do something for their father, but back then football was not my priority in life. In England they asked me why I didnt celebrate my goals. I will explain something to you. I was ten years old. I finished a game in which I scored six goals. I got into my fathers car and I saw he was very serious. I asked him what had happened and he asked me if I was pleased. I answered yes but he started counting out my mistakes, that I had missed a cross in the tenth minute, I missed a chance in the 14th minute and another time I failed to control the ball. Every game was like that. Ever since then when I scored a goal I thought of what I had done wrongly previously in the game instead of celebrating. My father didnt talk about the good things and I grew up thinking only about how I could improve in the areas I had weaknesses. At times people think Im bored but its not the case. What happens is that I dont understand euphoria. I play football for 15 years now and its difficult for me to understand euphoria. Im very tranquil. I cant understand why people think that footballers are different. Were not. Yes I am a footballer but I have good days, bad ones, with problems like everybody, joys and sadness. The star-t ... Les Ulis lads' side "I like being alone. It reminds me of my youth. Its a way of life. I like being with my friends but my life has always been like this. A man looks to find himself and when I was trying to form myself, despite being born in Les Ulis, I didnt forget that my parents came from Martinique and Guadeloupe. I knew the music, the culture, the food, my parents spoke to me in Creole. One always looks for ones roots and when I travel there I find peace. When I go I feel naked. Nobody looks at me. When we won the World Cup with France I went to Guadeloupe. There were celebrations but the look on peoples faces is different. Its normal. The day I arrived there was a meal, we played the bongos, everyone came to my house to sing but the next day it was all over. I go out barefoot in shorts, on a Vespa. Its paradise. For me these are incredible moments of profound life. I am afraid of dying. Its something that happens to everyone but it scares me. I make a living from my passion which is football but its not easy to get there. I feel privileged because there are people who have a job for which they get up at five in the morning and on the way to work theyre thinking they dont like what they do. Its my sport, my life but you cant judge a person only from their work. When I play I cant smile. My education was hard and I keep the image of my parents inside me. Every decision Ive made in my life, Ive made on my own. You have to be the man you carry inside. It is difficult but you have to do it. Now I think that last year was very tough. I arrived in Barca without talking, injured, in the middle of a separation, it was not easy at all. Thierry hinted that his retirement may not be far off. My career will finish soon and being a striker things go quicker. Ive never run as much as I do at Barcelona. Physically Im well and how much I run shows it but its difficult to go to hotels, trips. Playing and travelling tires you a lot. Those who say Im finished are not far from the truth. My career will finish one day or another. Look, its 15 years Ive been playing football at the top level. Not one year up and the other down. And this comes at a cost.