Henry quits Spain to play for New York

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Thierry Henry has joined the New York Red Bulls from Barcelona on a "multi-year contract", the Major League Soccer club have confirmed.

The 32-year-old former Arsenal captain moved to the Nou Camp in 2007 and had one year remaining on his Barça contract, but the club agreed last month that he could leave.

He is expected to make his debut for his new club next Thursday at Red Bull Arena against familiar foes – Tottenham Hotspur, who fly out for a north American tour beginning this week. The Red Bulls said: "Henry, a World Cup, European Championship and Uefa Champions League winner, will be available for selection for New York pending receipt of his international transfer certificate and after the 15 July international transfer window.

Henry will be introduced at a press conference today at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, but said yesterday that he was relishing the challenge ahead. "This marks an exciting new chapter in my career and life," the Frenchman said, no doubt keen to put France's dismal World Cup behind him.

"It is an honour to play for the New York Red Bulls. I am fully aware of the team's history and my sole goal during my time here is to help win the club its first championship. Knowing Red Bull's significant commitment to soccer locally and internationally, I am confident my team-mates and I will succeed," Henry added.

Erik Soler, the Red Bull New York general manager and sporting director, was equally thrilled with the acquisition. "Thierry is not only a world-class player who will undoubtedly improve our squad, but he has shown most importantly throughout his career that he is a winner," Soler said. "He has made it clear to us that he is committed in the short and long term to help in our vision of making our organisation the premium franchise in Major League Soccer."

Henry, who has scored a national record 51 goals in 123 appearances for France, competed at his fourth World Cup this summer but was unable to prevent Les Bleus crashing out in the group stage in South Africa. He started his career with Monaco in 1994 and then had a short spell with Juventus in 1999 before being reunited with his former Monaco coach Arsène Wenger at Arsenal.

Wenger transformed Henry's career by converting him from a winger to a striker and reaped the dividends over the next eight years as the player helped Arsenal to two league titles and three FA Cups, and he became the club's all-time record goalscorer.

He switched to Barcelona three years ago and was top scorer at the Nou Camp in his first season and was an integral part of the squad that clinched six trophies in 2008-09 under coach Pep Guardiola. His first-team opportunities were limited last term, however, and the outgoing president Joan Laporta confirmed in May he would be allowed to leave if he wished to do so.