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Thierry Henry Hopes to Lift the New York Red Bulls

Thierry Henry is introduced to the press at Red Bull Arena Matt Richman

(CBS/AP) French forward Thierry Henry was introduced to the press Thursday after signing a multiyear contract to play for the New York Red Bulls.

The 32-year-old striker, who was released by Barcelona last month, said he joined the team to win a Major League Soccer championship. "I can assure you I came here to try to win. That's the most important thing. I'm a competitor," Henry said at the press conference.

He is expected to practice with the team for the first time on Friday. Henry's will play his first game with the Red Bulls next week against Tottenham Hotspur, the former English Premier League team, and make his MLS debut at Houston July 31.

"Thierry is not only a world class player who will undoubtedly improve our squad, but he has shown most importantly throughout his career that he is a winner," said Erik Soler, general manager and sporting director of the Red Bulls. "He has made it clear to us that he is committed in the short and long term to help in our vision of making our organization the premium franchise in Major League Soccer."

With France, Henry won the World Cup in 1998 and the 2000 European Championship, but sparked outrage last year when his handball during a playoff match helped to deny Ireland a spot at this year's World Cup.

L-R: Dietmar Beiersdorfer, Thierry Henry, Erik Soler at Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ Matt Richman

At the tournament in South Africa, France was eliminated in the first round after the team was beset by a player protest.

Henry guided Arsenal to the Premier League title in 2002 and 2004 before leaving in 2007 to join Barcelona, where he won six trophies in 2009 - the Champions League, the Spanish league, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Supercup, the UEFA Supercup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

The Red Bulls, previously were known as the MetroStars, have a history of signing star players in the twilight of their careers. Italian Roberto Donadoni played for them in 1996 and '97, Brazilian great Branco was with them in 1997, German Lothar Matthaus in 2000 and Frenchman Youri Djorkaeff was here in 2005 and '06.

None of them led the team to a title.

Red Bulls leading scorer Juan Pablo Angel welcomed Henry's arrival, which was announced just days after New York played a 0-0 tie with D.C. United.

"I think it means everything for the industry in this country," Angel said. "He's arguably one of the best players in our generation. He's a player that has won everything he could possibly win in this sport and he's still fit. I think it's an honor to have him here. He's going to be a tremendous addition to the league, to the Red Bulls."