Henry will not be restricted by the MLS salary cap [GALLO/GETTY]

France striker Thierry Henry has signed for New York Red Bulls, the Major League Soccer (MLS) team said.

The former Juventus and Arsenal forward joins New York from Barcelona in a "multi-year" deal, the Red Bulls said in a statement.

The 32-year-old Henry joins England's David Beckham and former Swedish international Freddie Ljungberg among the league's 'designated players' who have most of their salary paid outside of their team's salary cap.

"It is without question that Thierry Henry is one of the most successful and recognisable soccer players over the past 15 years," said Dietmar Beiersdorfer, head of New York's owners, Red Bull Global Soccer.

"We are thrilled that Thierry has decided to come to New York to help the Red Bulls compete for championships this year and for years to come.

"His international pedigree is second to none and he is a proven winner."

Henry said he was looking forward to the challenge with the team who moved into a new purpose built soccer stadium this season but have yet to win an MLS title.

"This marks an exciting new chapter in my career and life.

"It is an honour to play for the New York Red Bulls.

"I am fully aware of the team's history and my sole goal during my time here is to help win the club its first championship."

Spain top rankings

World champions Spain returned to the top of the Fifarankings on Wednesday while Brazil dropped to third place and Italy slumped to 11th.

World Cup finalists the Netherlands also leapfrogged Brazil for second, a rise of two places, while England surprisingly moved up a rung to seventh despite a disappointing tournament in South Africa.

Semi-finalists Uruguay were big gainers, up 10 places to sixth, while 1998 champions France capped a pitiful performance by slipping 12 to 21st.

Ageing Italy, the 2006 World Cup winners, dropped six slots.

Germany and Argentina both moved up two places to fourth and fifth respectively.

New Zealand were the biggest movers up the rankings, rising 24 places to 54th after going unbeaten in their three group matches at the World Cup.

World Cup hosts South Africa rose 17 places to 66th.

Source: Agencies