Bienvenu Monsieur Henry
Thierry Henry has completed his move to FC Barcelona and fulfilled a long-standing wish. He’s looking forward to starting work on winning the only trophy he’s missing – the Champions League.
Thierry Henry was officially unveiled as a Barça player on Monday evening by club president Joan
Laporta and director of football Txiki Begiristain. A large and expectant crowd of reporters filled
the Paris Room in the Camp Nou and the France international was clearly surprised by the reaction
to his move. He recognised that even at this early stage he’s beginning to realise just how
big a club Barça really is.
A dream come true
Henry’s first words as a Barça player were: “Playing for Barça
was my dream and I’m happy to have achieved it”. However, he stressed his great respect
for his former Club Arsenal.
He was surprised by the tumultuous reaction to the move: “I’m surprised. I just
want to play. It’s these things that make you see that Barça is more than a club”. He
went on to thank all those who had been involved in his transfer and added: “Everything
I’ve seen so far is fantastic”.
“Barça is a team that tries to win everything and I hope to do that”. However,
the new number 14 stressed that his objectives were collective not personal though he did not deny
that he would like to collect a CL medal, the only major trophy he has never won: “Winning
the Champions League is a dream for any player”.
Henry also proved that he’s well informed about the club: “I know where I am. I
know a lot of the players and they have a lot of quality. We all have to go in the same
direction”. He also emphasised the friendship that unites him with Samuel Eto'o: “I
value him as a player and as a person. We’re very good friends and we visited each other when
we were injured”. He also revealed that he has known Frank Rijkaard for some time and that he
had already spoken with him.
A long-standing desire
Joan Laporta reminded
reporters that Barça had been tracking Henry for a long time: “We’ve been after him for
a long time. When Cruyff was the coach he wanted him. When I stood for president in 2003 we wanted
him and everybody remembers the negotiations last year. He will bring quality, experience and
commitment. He comes to Barça at the perfect time”.
125 million euro release clause
Laporta expressed his gratitude for Henry’s desire to join the club and for the respect
he had shown towards Arsenal. Finally, he made a special mention of the work done by Txiki
Begiristain and Ferran Soriano in closing the deal. Barça have paid Arsenal 24 million euros and
signed a four-year deal with Henry with a release clause of 125 million euros.
Praise from Wenger
Txiki Begiristain emphasised that Rijkaard was fully behind the transfer and that Arsenal
manager, Arsène Wenger, had told him: “Henry is the most brilliant and intelligent
player” he had ever worked with.