BY MIKE NASTRI
Thierry Henry is finally here in New York and he's determined to bring a championship to his new team.
"I am just thrilled to be here, said Henry. "Everybody knows I love this city. But I can assure you that I came here to try to win. That is the most important thing. I am a competitor and I'm sure the boss will put a team out there to be sure that we can do it."
"I've had it in my mind for four or five months. Coming here was the only option for me. I wanted to play for the Red Bulls and New York."
New York has longed for the type of star power that will put fans in the seats like Pele did for the New York Cosmos decades ago. Henry will certainly help the attendance at Red Bull Arena, but more importantly Henry will help New York in another quest it's had for 15 years.
Henry could be the major piece needed for an improving Red Bull squad to finally bring an MLS Cup to New York.
"I think it's possible," said Henry. "The team is second in East."
"You never know what can happen, hopefully we can do it. You can never say it's going to be for sure, but I can assure you that me and my teammates will do everything we can to win."
Thierry is a proven winner leading Arsenal to two EPL titles and winning six trophies in one year with Barcelona including the UEFA Champion's League crown. He will emphasize a winning mentality that Hans Backe and Erik Soler have already begun instilling in this Red Bull squad.
The 1998 World Cup Champion will feature up top for the Red Bulls according to Hans Backe. Henry will be tasked with helping a Red Bulls team score goals, something they have struggled to do all season.
"We have signed an outstanding football player," said head coach Hans Backe. "I would rate him in the top ten ever in the premiership as a striker."
Henry is coming off a bad stretch in his career where he lost his starting job at Barcelona. The two time European Golden Boot winner admitted that he suffered through injury for the first four months of the club season, which certainly hindered his status with the squad. Still, the Red Bulls organization is adamant they are still receiving a player that is not past his prime.
"He is signed for 4 and 1/2 years and he is very very hungry to get New York it's first MLS championship," said Backe.
Henry will be one hundred percent committed to New York unlike David Beckham was to the Galaxy due to his lingering international ambitions. Henry retired from the French National Team and is making New York his permanent home.
And although Henry is a star with a distinguished history, there is little concern on the part of NYRB that there will be problems in the locker room.
"He has a solid personality which is needed when you bring in a star player to a club like this," said NYRB Sporting Director Erik Soler.
The doubts about how Henry will fit with the team and how he will perform have been put aside for now. The true impact of this signing will not be seen for a couple of seasons. A signing is judged on whether that player helped the team win. Henry's time for NYRB will only be a success if he makes the team better and ultimately brings the MLS Cup to New York.
While Henry will debut with forty five minutes against Tottenham on July 22nd, the true test will begin July 31st in his first MLS match against Houston.
Henry is determined to win in New York and only time will tell if he can bring his winning touch to Red Bull Arena.