Beckham-Henry clash finally arrives

CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham and Thierry Henry have certainly had some epic battles before.

When the two were stars in the English Premiership with Manchester United and Arsenal, respectively, their meetings went a long way in determining the league champion. With England and France also, the two were key figures in an epic Euro 2004 clash.

Now, though, Major League Soccer will be the setting for the latest Beckham-Henry battle. When New York visit the Galaxy on Saturday (11 pm ET, ESPN2/Deportes), it will be the first time the two talents will play against one another in MLS play.

Beckham, for one, is happy the two can finally play in MLS.

“Thierry is a good friend of mine,” Beckham said. “It’s good to see him fit and playing well. It will be good for him to be here and for our fans as well to see him play because he’s such a great talent and has been for many years, and it’s great to see him doing the same here.”

Henry and Beckham have had two chances to play against each other in the league before, but each player took turns being injured. Beckham missed the Galaxy’s match at New York on Aug. 14 while still rehabilitating his Achilles tendon, but Henry saw action in LA’s 1-0 win.

When New York visited the Galaxy on Sept. 24, Beckham had returned – the match was his first 90-minute effort for the Galaxy in 2010 – but Henry missed the game with an injury. New York won the match 2-0.

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“I’ve spoke to him a few times, most days actually,” Beckham said of Henry. “He’s looking forward to coming to LA and he’s enjoying his football. He’s fit, so it’s a tough thing for us to have a player that’s going to play as well as he does. We’ve got very good players who are going to play against him, but Thierry is such a great talent.”

When Beckham and Henry matched up in the past, the games drew viewers around the globe, watching Manchester United-Arsenal, Real Madrid-Arsenal or England-France, and perhaps even when Beckham and Henry met in a Manchester United-Monaco Champions League quarterfinal tie in 1998.

And now, Beckham said, the match will garner attention as it always has.

“It’s good for the game, it’s good for the sport in this country,” Beckham said. “Me and Thierry have come up against each other because we’ve done it before for Manchester United and Arsenal … so people will talk about that. It gives football in this country a lot of publicity in different countries.”