Thierry Henry leaves New York Red Bulls: Striker confirms MLS exit, but refuses to be drawn on retirement talk or Arsenal return

Henry says he will 'take the next few weeks to reflect' but has previously confirmed his desire to return to Arsenal

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The Independent Football

Thierry Henry has confirmed that he has played his last game for New York Red Bulls after announcing his intention to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

New York were knocked out of the post-season play-offs after suffering a 4-3 aggregate defeat to rivals New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Championship play-off.

The 37-year-old striker will now “take the next few weeks to reflect” before deciding what his future holds, but he refused to be drawn on speculation linking him to a return to Arsenal as either a player or coach.

 

Speaking in a statement on Monday, Henry said: "I am taking this opportunity to announce that unfortunately Saturday was my last game for the New York Red Bulls.

"The decision has always been that I would leave after the duration of my contract and although that was never going to change, I didn't want it to distract from the progress of the team.

"I have immensely enjoyed my four-and-a-half years here and would like to thank everyone involved with this club who has made my time here so enjoyable.

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Thierry Henry in action for New York Red Bulls

"Thanks must go particularly to Erik Soler, Hans Backe, Gerard Houllier, Andy Roxburgh, Mike Petke, all my team-mates, the technical staff, medical staff, all the personnel who work for the Red Bull organisation, the MLS and of course the owner Mr (Dietrich) Mateschitz, whose vision and passion brought me to this wonderful city.

"A special mention must go to the Red Bull fans who have supported this team through the good, the bad and the ugly times in the sun, rain and snow. You guys have really meant a lot to me and thank you for all your wonderful support.

"I will now take the next few weeks to reflect and decide on the next chapter of my career."

A return to Arsenal would not be a surprise for Henry, having trained with the club to keep fit as well as returning for a loan spell in 2012. The Frenchman left the Gunners for Barcelona in 2007, and went on to lift the Champions League with the Spanish club in 2009 – having come so close with the Premier League club in their 2-1 defeat to the Catalans in 2006.

He was part of the famous Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ side that went the entire 2003-04 season unbeaten as part of the 49-match streak, and he led the side into their new Emirates Stadium at the start of the 2006-07 season having taken the armband from Patrick Vieira a season before.

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Henry remains a fan favourite at Arsenal

Speaking in a recent interview with L’Equipe, Henry said: "I have not taken any decision and speculation is not my thing. One thing is certain: I will stay in football, as a coach, a consultant or executive. We will see.

"The second certainty is that I would love to see Arsenal win the Champions League. Whether that is from near or far does not depend on me, but it is sure I'd like to help.

"This is my club and, as a player, I was not able to give them the Champions League."

According to bookmakers' Bwin, Henry is second only to Jurgen Klopp to become the next Arsenal manager once Arsene Wenger leaves, with his odds cutting from 80/1 to 14/1 after announcing his New York departure and changing his Facebook wallpaper to a picture of the Emirates Stadium.

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