Thierry Henry put in another masterful display for the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, with a brace and assist helping his side to a 4-2 win over the Montreal Impact, while fuelling further questions about his uncertain future.
Having just turned 37, and with his contract set to expire at the end of 2014, talk of retirement has been circulating around MLS in recent months, with Red Bull Head of Global Football Gerard Houllier even admitting that he expected the Frenchman to hang up his boots.
Originally joining the Red Bulls from Barcelona in July 2010, Henry hasn’t quite produced to the same level MLS fans expected numbers-wise, but his form over the past 18 months has demonstrated that he still has a great deal to offer the league.
Helping the team to the 2013 Supporters’ Shield, as the best team of the regular campaign, the club captain has again thrived this season in a more creative role in the lineup, notching up 11 assists and seven goals in 21 games so far to establish himself as an MVP front-runner.
Helping strike-partner Bradley Wright-Phillips to a league-leading 20 goals in the process, Henry’s world class skills are far from diminished based on recent evidence, but his comments on the weekend reveal little more about his plans for 2015.
‘Right now, like you saw, that fire is still in me,’ he said after the game.
‘All I’m thinking about right now is to make sure we can make the playoffs. You know this league is about having a good run. … [MLS has] a long break, so I’m going to have long, long, long thoughts about what’s next. Right now, I’m thinking about the next game.’
Having seen the club make the play-offs in each of his previous four seasons, Henry’s Red Bulls are now in a prime position to make a five consecutive post-season appearance, as Mike Petke’s side bid to win their first-ever MLS Cup.
That would clearly be a fitting way for the Arsenal legend to bow out but, when he’s playing at his current level, the club’s hierarchy and fans alike must be crossing their fingers in the hope that he opts to lengthen his stay in New York by at least another season.