Thierry Henry has announced that he will not return to Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls in 2015, but he leaves the league in a better state than when he joined four years ago.
The 37-year-old joined the club from Barcelona as a designated player in July 2010 and went on to play 122 times for the Red Bulls, scoring 51 goals.
Henry leaves New York as the club’s all-time assist leader with 42 and his presence will be greatly missed from next year.
“I am taking this opportunity to announce that unfortunately Saturday was my last game for the New York Red Bulls. The decision has always been that I would leave after the duration of my contract and although that was never going to change, I didn’t want it to distract from the progress of the team.
I have immensely enjoyed my four and half years here and would like to thank everyone involved with this club who has made my time here so enjoyable.”
The former Arsenal star has enjoyed an incredibly successful career over the past 20 years and although he will be disappointed not to have lifted the MLS Cup during his time in the states, he captained the Red Bulls to their fair share of success.
New York have made the playoffs every season with Henry leading the line but Saturday’s loss in the Eastern Conference Championship game was the furthest the Frenchman saw his side get.
Henry is a global football icon. He joined David Beckham in putting Major League Soccer on the map for good, and it has not looked back since.
So many stars have come and gone since, and 20 clubs will play in the league next season – four more than when Henry joined four and a half years ago.
He helped establish New York Red Bulls as a globally recognised football club and that should mean finding a replacement for the French star will be slightly easier than it would be for many other MLS clubs.
Thierry Henry will be sorely missed by those across MLS and especially in New York. But he helped change soccer for the better and his legacy will never be forgotten.
He has yet to announce if he is retiring from the game but recently hinted that he would like to return to Arsenal in what would surely be a coaching role.
“One thing is certain: I will stay in football, as a coach, a consultant or executive. We will see.
“The second certainty is that I would love to see Arsenal win the Champions League. Whether that is from near or far does not depend on me, but it is sure I’d like to help. This is my club and, as a player, I was not able to give them the Champions League,” he told L’Equipe last month.
How important has Thierry Henry been for Major League Soccer?