New York Red Bulls' Thierry Henry glowing in praise of David Beckham: "He was a great professional"

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Thierry Henry has the utmost respect for David Beckham. That much was made clear on Friday morning.

Talking to reporters ahead of the New York Red Bulls’ home game with the LA Galaxy on Sunday (1 pm ET, ESPN2, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com), Henry touched on Beckham’s decision to retire at the end of the Ligue 1 season. The Red Bulls captain had nothing but positives to say about the global icon and former Galaxy midfielder, who spent the last few years alongside Henry promoting MLS and soccer in the United States.

READ: Beckham's LA Galaxy teammates reflect on retiring star: "Absolutely an amazing career"

“You’ve got to respect his career," Henry said. "Everywhere he went, he won, so you’ve got to respect that. He came here to do a job and went to Paris at the end, and won, went to Milan, Madrid. He was a great professional. At the end of the day, we can be here talking about all of his career and everything but what you have to respect with David is that [he’s] a great professional. He always gave his all on the field.

Asked if he had a favorite Beckham memory, Henry pointed to the Englishman’s trademark pinpoint free kicks but mentioned one in particular: Beckham’s jaw-dropping curled effort in a World Cup qualifier against Greece in Manchester in 2001 that booked the Three Lions’ ticket to the 2002 World Cup.

“He leveled the game with that free kick and he sent the whole country to the World Cup,” said Henry. “I remember I was watching that game on TV and it was a great moment.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.