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“After the game, I did apologize and I was saying this to the guys on the pitch, to the Irish guys,” Henry said. “But, hey, the rules of the game are the ref doesn’t blow the whistle, you’ve got to play.”

He compared it with another clear hand ball call that was missed.

“It was kind of funny to see (Brazil’s) Luis Fabiano score this goal against Ivory Coast in the World Cup, and nobody ever said anything,” he said. “It was kind of weird, but that’s the way the game is.”

With the Red Bulls, Henry will go back to playing in the middle of the field rather than on the left, where he had played with Barcelona. He said he played with a knee injury for much of the first half of last season, making it only fair that he lost playing time to Pedro Rodriguez and Bojan Krkic.

He thinks he has a lot to contribute to MLS.

“Maybe I’m not like the 20-year-old who used to run past anybody, but it’s all about awareness,” he said.

His new contract runs for 4 1/2 seasons. After that, he’d like to remain in the game.

“I think at 37 maybe it will be time to say goodbye,” he said. “I can see being a manager sometime. It is not that easy. So we’ll see.”

He is to make his Red Bulls debut against Tottenham on July 22. Having scored a club-record 226 goals for Arsenal from 1999-07, it’s more than an exhibition game.

“I won’t even mention the name of the team that we are going to play on the 22nd,” he said. “That’s how big a rivalry is it for me.”