Arsenal Legend Thierry Henry Unveiled for New York

France striker Thierry Henry (2nd R) poses with Hans Backe, New York Red Bulls coach (L), Dietmar Beiersdorfer, head of Red Bulls global soccer (2nd L), and Erik Soler, Red Bulls general manager (R), with a team jersey after a news conference after joining Major League Soccer (MLS) team New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, July 15, 2010.  REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

First there was Brand Beckham going to Hollywood. Now we have King Henry coming to the Big Apple.

While MLS is getting that knack as a semi-retirement league for the world’s greatest stars (Frank Lampard has mentioned it as well), Henry’s signing is still a major deal for the young league.

Put simply, on footballing credentials alone, this is the best signing in MLS history. At the peak of his powers in the early 2000s, Thierry Henry was the best forward in the world. He was the most feared striker in England by a healthy margin. Twice runner-up FIFA World Player of the Year to countryman Zinedine Zidane (2003) and Ronaldinho (2004), Henry was voted player of the year in England twice by the PFA and three times by the Football Writers’ Association.

He was on the French national team that won the World Cup in 1998, and played a pivotal role in their Euro 2000 championship and 2006 World Cup final appearance. With Arsenal, he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, and was the centerpiece for the unprecedented 2003-04 title-winning Arsenal side that went undefeated in their domestic campaign. After moving to Barcelona in 2007, Henry claimed the treble in 2009, often utilized as a left-winger/forward alongside Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi.

But it is more than just the accolades that define Henry. He is arguably the most electrifying player to grace the Premier League. His technique, movement, acceleration, speed, strength, and goal-scoring abilities were second to none in England.

Starting out as a left-sided midfielder, Arsene Wenger converted the Frenchman to the center-forward, but Henry always drifted out wide left to collect the ball, and then proceeded to torch fullbacks and central defenders regularly. A 360 spin here, blinding pace there, Henry was a pleasure to watch every weekend. One wonders, if Abramovich and Mourinho hadn’t arrived in England, how many more titles could Henry have won with the Gunners?

At 32 and turning 33 in August, does Henry have much left in the tank? He should light this league on fire and be THE outstanding player. He has endured a rocky couple of years with both Barcelona, where he fell out of favor and was a regular on the bench last season, and France, after his infamous “Hand of Gaul” debacle and finding himself on the bench for the national team in their laughable World Cup campaign.

Still, there is no one remotely in the class of Thierry Henry in MLS when it comes to talent and skill, including Beckham. The dream scenario for MLS is a New York – Los Angeles final with Henry and Becks both fit. The two teams are both at or near the top of their respective conferences, so that dream final looks to be on once both superstars return to action.

These signings are critical for MLS’ growth, despite the negative “retirement” moniker they may receive from critics. Why? Take me for example. I went to see Beckham play here in New York (actually New Jersey), and now I will 100% be attending a Red Bulls game to see Henry play. These stars galvanize interest for nascent American soccer fans, MLS fans, and hardcore soccer fans like myself who largely ignore MLS and follow the European leagues. All in all, Henry’s signing is a big positive for the league.

Now, let’s watch a master of his craft in action. Sit back and enjoy.

What are your thoughts on Henry’s move to America? Good for MLS, bad for MLS? Good for Henry, bad for Henry?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

19 thoughts on “Arsenal Legend Thierry Henry Unveiled for New York”

  1. He is of course past his best but he was one hell of a player in his time, at his peak he might have even been the the best striker the Prem has ever seen.
    I think it is a good signing for MLS, he will put bums on seats and is certainly still good enough to do a very good job in that league.

  2. If Super Frank ever came to the MLS I would have to root for my boy. I just hope he doesn’t go to the Revolution.

    1. I would automatically become a fan of the team that SFL went to, if he came to the MLS. But I’d prefer him to finish at Chelsea.

  3. henry should have come back to the mighty arsenal to play for a couple of years then take ova the role of coaching or assistaint coach

  4. henry you are an absolute legend i luv u, you will always be an arsenal man and will luv and support u till the end. good luck u legend! p.s im so glad your not associated with those classless scumbags in barca you where to good 4 them.

  5. It seems to me that Lampard will finish in England. He’s already 32 and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. He just came off a 27-goal season.

    Maybe when he’s 36 or so, but that is getting up there…

  6. That goal against the scum when he ran the length of the field and planted it in the net – that will always be my favourite. Especially when he ran down to the other end to the scum fans just to rub it in!! (Almost equalled last season by Cesc!!)

  7. As a longtime Arsenal fan living in New York, I am personally thrilled to have a player of such quality lending his talent to a New York area team. The guy is a class act and wanted to live in New York so it’s a great move from him. He never should have left Arsenal. Barcelona treated him like crap. Welcome to New York Thierry.

  8. I’ve been a season ticketholder for RBNY for several years and could not be more excited to have him on the club. I really believe he has quite a bit left in the tank and look forward to watching MLS defenses try to stop the pairing of him and Angel. Hopefully, Lindpere will stay healthy and be able to get him the ball enough.

    After so many years of watching an awful team in an awful stadium, this year has been a great one for Red Bulls. I hope others who have stayed away will give the club a chance now.

    Regarding Lampard, if he waited and came here as a 35 or 36 year old, I don’t think he would be very effective. He is not particularly quick now and would be even slower then. And MLS is getting better every year, despite its reputation.

  9. I’m not a huge fan of MLS, I think it hinders the development of our national team, especially when we want our top players to play in our own league. But if MLS & the US National team can accept that whats best for our national team is to have more of our players playing overseas while being open to having these european giants play their twilight years in the MLS, I’m all for it.

    Today’s top atheletes can still perform in their mid 30s and if these foreign players want a semi retirement league which is still competetive, then bring them here. But please, make sure we send Dempsey, Donovon, Jozy, Bradley, etc overseas to gain more experience in the better leagues. MLS and the US National team can’t have it both ways, meaning, your top USMNT players can’t be a big fish in a small pond and expect to develop into world class stars on the international stage, otherwise we’re goign to see the US team with a lot of making the round of 16 and out.

  10. His lasting memory will be cheating Ireland out of a world cup spot. Everytime his name is mentioned the first thing that will come to mind is the Hand of Frog. Cheating Cu..

  11. Henry is a legend and a true Gooner. Even greats such as Messi, Ronaldo and Marradona have cheated.

  12. king “vava voom”Henry’s MLS move is a big boost for the major league soccer.Henry is one of the guys i admire the more for his “catch me if you can”pace down the happy for king Henry.T.T i use to call him.he is one of the legends in the arsenal family. O SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY GUNNERS. Charles from Ho Bankoe,Ghana

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