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How Henry played a part in Mexican wizard's move to Tottenham

PUBLISHED: 11:50 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:19 07 September 2010

GIOVANI dos Santos has revealed how Thierry Henry played a key role in his move from Barcelona to White Hart Lane. And he is convinced that he has made the right choice to leave Barcelona for the Lilywhites despite his baptism of fire at Middlesbrough. I

GIOVANI dos Santos has revealed how Thierry Henry played a key role in his move from Barcelona to White Hart Lane.

And he is convinced that he has made the right choice to leave Barcelona for the Lilywhites despite his baptism of fire at Middlesbrough.

"I chose Tottenham because I came here to learn, play and gain experience," Dos Santos told Ham&High Sport. "Tottenham put their faith in me and presented me an ambitious project.

"It is true that to find a club as big as Barcelona is difficult but for me the best thing right now is to be at Tottenham."

After rising through the ranks at Barca, Dos Santos was tipped to be a big success with the Catalan giants but he could not afford to wait for his chance. Ahead of him were world stars such as Messi, Samuel Eto'o, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho.

Barcelona wanted Dos Santos to go out on loan for a season but the player insisted that if he left then it would be on a permanent basis - because he wanted to play first team football every week.

"I was not forced out of Barcelona," he said. "Ever since I was kid I dreamed about playing in England. I know Barcelona is a great team but as they have to make decisions that they think are best for the club so I had to make a decision for myself.

"I spoke to the club and from the moment they knew I didn't want to continue there they respected my decision. If football was only about image and money I would have stayed at Barcelona, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world."

And the Mexican, signed by Spurs for an initial £4.5 million, revealed that it was Ramos and former Gunner Henry who persuaded him to join the Lilywhites.

"I took my decision partly because of Juande Ramos," he said. "I knew him from his time in Sevilla and I knew his way of working. He spoke to me in January and showed an interest then. He is a very experienced manager who achieved a lot in a short space of time in Spain.

"I also spoke with Thierry Henry and he told me it was a good club in the Premier League, a good club for me to go to."

Indeed, in his short time at Tottenham Dos Santos, playing either as a left-footed right winger or in a floating role behind the main striker, has become a fans' favourite. But with many Tottenham supporters still mourning the departure of striker Robbie Keane to Liverpool, Dos Santos does not see himself as a direct replacement for the Irishman.

"It would be crazy to compare me to Robbie Keane and what he has achieved at Spurs," he said. "To replace him will be very difficult. It is no secret that my favourite position is just behind the striker, but I have my own style and I am ambitious. We have a young squad and we are hungry to win trophies."

Dos Santos is not worried that his slender physique will not survive in the rough and tumble of the Premier League. "I am working out in the gym," he added. "Obviously, the physical aspect is there for me to cope with. But if you look around the world, a lot of players of similar statue to me have excelled."

The Mexican also wants to become as good a player as Cristiano Ronaldo and believes he can. "I think Ronaldo is a great player - the best of all - and all young players would like to be compared to him," he said.

"It would be marvellous as an individual if, in three or four years, people say I've grown as a player in the same way as he has."

In the meantime, Spurs fans will be hoping that Dos Santos can play his part in kick-starting the Ramos revolution with three points against Sunderland on Saturday.

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co


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