At long last, Thierry Henry was officially unveiled as a member of the New York Red Bulls on Thursday. And for Major League Soccer, it might just be a game-changer.
Henry revealed to the media gathered at Red Bull Arena that his recently signed four-and-a-half-year contract with the Red Bulls and MLS – which sporting director Erik Solér told MLSsoccer.com is finalized – crystallized earlier this year.
Though his move to the Red Bulls has been a longstanding rumor, the Frenchman said Thursday that the decision to actually make the move was relatively recent and has been “in my mind the past four or five months.” Henry said there was nowhere else he’d rather be taking his talents than to New York.
“Coming here was the only option for me,” Henry said, adding, “I love this city. It was a no-brainer for me.”
WATCH: Henry Interview
Henry, who has retired from international football after a career that twice saw him as runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year voting, said he first visited New York in 1996. Henry opened the press conference by telling reporters, “I came here to play and win.”
The former Arsenal and Barcelona star said he realizes from past experiences that MLS is not a league to be taken lightly. He pointed to the United States’ recent performance in the World Cup, coupled with having played MLS opponents in preseason tours with Barcelona, as justification for his statements.
“The Americans are playing good football,” Henry said, who also praised the MLS opponents he has played. “Sometimes, on some occasions, they were outplaying us.”
Henry said repeatedly that he hopes to win an MLS Cup with the club. He realizes that won’t be an easy task, but he said he won’t be doing it alone.
“I came here to help my teammates,” Henry said. “I expect they can help me, too.”
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs. He can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012