In an expected but still spectacular move French international striker Thierry Henry has joined US Major League Soccer club New York Red Bulls. Henry leaves FC Barcelona after three years at the Catalan club with one year of his contract still to run. But the club granted him his wish to leave and have allowed him move to the US.
The 32-year-old former Arsenal player signed a multi year contract on Wednesday and will be introduced at a news conference on Thursday at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
Henry is expected to make his Red Bulls' debut on July 22 in an exhibition match against English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspurs.
"Some people might think I am going to go there for vacation — I do actually go there for vacation — but it won't be for vacation this time," Henry said in a video interview on the club website. "I'm a competitor and I don't like to lose."
And Henry added, "This marks an exciting new chapter in my career and life."
For the New York Red Bulls the signing of Henry marks a considerable push to promote itself, the Red Bull brand and also the MLS as a league. This follows the clubs opening of their soccer (football) specific stadium, the Red Bull Arena, a few months ago.
Red Bull Football consists of three clubs - Red Bulls Salzburg (Austria), New York Red Bulls (USA), RB Leipzig (Germany) plus the Red Bull Ghana Football Academy and an Academy in Brazil. Once all these entities are working at the optimum the Austrians could further expand their football empire around the world.
Often people think the energy drink manufacturer from the Austrian Alps is only using adventure sports and Formula 1 to promote its products, but they are also focusing on using football more and more. Red Bull is known to be one of the most innovative companies when it comes to brand and product promotion. So the football world should look out.
Meanwhile in the MLS the signing of Thierry Henry is second only to the signing of English superstar David Beckham by the Los Angeles Galaxy a few years ago. Henry also joins former Arsenal team mate Freddy Ljungberg in the US, who now plays for the Seattle Sounders.
And with other players set to make a move to the US it will hopefully further strengthen the MLS, while we as Indians hope that our very own Sunil Chhetri will get the chance to play for the Kansas City Wizards against such players like Thierry Henry.