Henri Signs With New York Red Bulls

July 17, 2010 at 4:50 am | Posted in General Football | 4 Comments

New York Red Bulls have become the second MLS team to sign a major name using one of their designated player spots to do so. Thierry Henri is beyond his prime, and became a fringe player for Barcelona last year, but when you consider how good his prime was, he still is an excellent player.

During his time in the English Premier League with Arsenal, Thierry Henri was the Premiership footballer par excellance. He was fast, tough, hard working and superbly skilled at putting the ball in the net.   When he went to Barcelona in the Spanish League, he got lost a bit among the stars and was not able to play his game like he did in the Premiership.  Now, with the Red Bulls, he will be able to play his game again and be the focus of the team.  I think he will be a big success.   He is a good looking fellow too, for those “fans” who go to look at players rather than the game.   Americans love stars, and Henri has star quality in spades.

It is a fine balance for Major League Soccer with designated players.  So far, designated player spots have been largely used by overseas stars who are past their prime.    It is all right if they are a bit beyond their prime, but it makes the league look bad if they don’t perform.   I feel Henri will perform well and will prove to be good value for the league.

I fear the news that Ronaldinho is going to sign with LA Galaxy.  He is a party animal who could flop in a major way.   He has declined very fast in quality and is nowhere near where he once was.   Will he work hard in training or even show up to train at all?  Will he be a distraction to his teammates who will be earning a lot less than he is?  He is no Beckham, that is for sure.  I think he could be a disaster.   Sure, he has star quality, but at what cost?

These designated players are in for a rude shock if they come to the MLS looking for a holiday.  MLS is a tough league which is fast and physical.   The performance of the US team in the World Cup demonstrates that American football is getting better in quality, gaining praise from the great Alex Ferguson, no less.

Should the Whitecaps sign a designated player?  I don’t think they should be in a rush to do so.  In the US, star quality is very important, whereas in Canada, we like stars, but we appreciate teamwork even more.   We don’t take well to prima donnas!

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4 Comments »

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  1. Two quibbles:

    Henry excelled two seasons ago at Barca, helping them to six titles in one year. He scored 26 goals and had 12 assists in 42 appearances. He fit in extremely well that season and was able to play his game very well. Last season was a different story, true.

    Ronaldinho, while not anywhere near his 2005/06 peak, actually had a really good season in 2009/10 for Milan. He scored 15 and got 16 assists in 43 appearances, which is an excellent return for a wide attacker.

    While the idea of getting a star player is exciting, right now let’s focus on teamwork and solidifying our finances.

    • Thanks Brenton. Perhaps I should give Ronaldinho a bit more slack, but I still think that particular move might backfire for the MLS. Ronnie is a partier, and can you imagine him unleashed in LA?

      • Seeing as he’s from Brazil and played in Paris, Barcelona and Milan, I’m not sure LA would be particularly wild for him. But a fair point, the guy does love a good party.

      • I saw him play when he was in Paris. He was fantastic at that time and the only big star in the French league at the time. PSG did not use him to the fullest though, and I don’t believe they won anything while he was there.


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