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25.06.2007 20:09

Bienvenu Monsieur Henry

Jordi Clos

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

QM3D4631.JPGHenry’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”.

A winner

“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

QM3D4344.JPGJoan 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.
Bienvenu Monsieur Henry

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First words in Catalan
At the end of the press conference, Thierry Henry uttered his first words in Catalan: “Estic molt content de jugar al Barça (I’m very happy to play in Barça)”, which was greeted with applause by local reporters. As he admitted, he had been well primed by his former Arsenal team-mate Cesc Fàbregas.

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