Lionel Messi, in a news conference on Monday said that, his FC Barcelona team mate Thierry Henry should not be held solely responsible for the controversy surrounding the handball incident in the World Cup playoff against Ireland a few days ago.

Messi said that he thought Thierry had done what he had to do and he apologized. Messi was talking to reporters after receiving the honor of Ballon d’Or in a ceremony organized by a French magazine France Football and TV channel TF1 in Paris.

He also said that the controversy was ‘just an incident’ in the game of football, as neither the referee nor the linesman saw it.

Messi became the first Argentinean to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award on December 1, after a fantastic season in which he scored 9 goals to help troubled Barcelona win the Champions League. He also scored 23 goals in the Spanish league and 6 in the King’s cup.  

FIFA rejected Ireland’s plea for a rematch when Henry’s controversial goal helped France win 2-1, which resulted in Ireland not being able to qualify for World cup 2010. FIFA is currently investigating Henry’s ‘handball’ against Ireland during last month’s playoffs.