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Henry's Haiti donation shows his true colors

From Pedro Pinto, CNN
Star cast. Zidane, Dani Alves, Kaka and Henry share a moment in the charity match for Haiti.
Star cast. Zidane, Dani Alves, Kaka and Henry share a moment in the charity match for Haiti.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • United Nations game in Lisbon raises over $750,000 for Haiti earthquake appeal
  • French star Thierry Henry plays and personally donated over $90,000
  • Other leading stars such as Kaka, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane take part
  • CNN's Pedro Pinto reports Henry was shocked by the tragedy

Lisbon, Portugal (CNN) -- Let's face it, footballers have a bad rep. They are labelled by many as overpaid selfish prima donnas who could not care less about the world around them.

This may in reality apply to some players, but definitely not all of them. In Lisbon I recently met many who truly enjoy being role models and were honored to take part in the 7th edition of the United Nations (UN) Match Against Poverty.

This year, in light of the tragic earthquake in Haiti, all of the proceeds went to the devastated country as 55 thousand people filled the Stadium of Light to greet some of the best footballers on the planet, both past and present.

The likes of Kaka, Thierry Henry, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane lent a hand to this cause. Organizers were hoping to raise over $750 000 and in ticket sales alone, that target was reached.

Video: Football stars play for Haiti

Having the privilege to be behind the scenes at this match in my home country, I spoke with various players about their involvement in it. One of the most concerned about the plight of the Haitian people was Thierry Henry.

The Barcelona forward, who made headlines for the wrong reasons after his controversial handball which helped prevent Ireland from attending the World Cup, had already personally pledged $90,000 to the French aid agency Medecins sans Frontieres.

"I am very touched by this tragedy and it is very good that everybody should mobilize in order to help Haiti," Henry told his club side Barcelona's official Web site.

I know what the Haitians must be going through. I have many friends over there
--Thierry Henry
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"This touches me because almost 20 years ago something similar happened in (the French Caribbean island of) Guadeloupe and I know what the Haitians must be going through. I have many friends over there. Haiti is a former French colony and it's as if we are cousins."

Henry showed true concern for a nation that needs all the help it can get to rebuild its infrastructure and its hope.

Zidane, Kaka and Figo were others who told me they were shocked by some of the footage they saw coming out of Haiti. As the death toll rose, they felt they needed to do something to help, and were delighted so many high-profile names showed up.

In all, some 40 international players participated in a match that was qualified as a success by all, including the former Arsenal striker.

"We must help them. I felt I should do something and that's why I have decided to make a donation to Medecins sans Frontieres," said the former Arsenal legend.