Peguy Luyindula has retired from professional soccer. The former France international, three-time winner of Ligue 1, and architect of the 5-2 win over Chicago Fire that gave the New York Red Bulls their first major trophy (the 2013 Supporters' Shield), leaves the game on the cusp of his 36th birthday. (25 May will be the happy day: bon anniversaire, Peguy!)
We know Peguy has retired because Ali Curtis said so on Seeing Red:
I was in my office and Peguy asked to meet with me...he sat down, we had a conversation and he said...he wanted to stop playing professional soccer
Curtis said he was being completely open, and as such it would be insulting to parse his words: he's being completely open, not carefully selecting his phrasing. The clear implication is that Peguy is done, retired from the game, off to do something else. Doesn't matter that Mr. Curtis didn't use the word "retired", retired is what any reasonable interpretation of those comments would conclude.
Indeed, the RBNY sporting director went on to describe some of Luyindula's business interests and took the time to wish the now-former Red Bull well:
We support Peguy...in his new future and career.
So that is that: the Peguy saga started in early March with the news the player had been granted some time off to consider his future (news, incidentally, only revealed after Luyindula had missed a major pre-season meet-the-team event, and RBNY's season-opening match, and had his squad number handed to Felipe), proceeded through a couple of months of increasingly unenlightening "updates", and has now finally been resolved with Curtis's announcement.
There is no joy in seeing a player who gave a great deal of joy to fans of the New York Red Bulls effectively have his departure from the team announced by a third-party via podcast. But maybe the club has a more formal announcement ready for...well, not May 21 - the day after Seeing Red was recorded and the day after the news was broken as sneak peek of what the week's episode had to offer:
Curtis on SR: Peguy met with me, said he wanted to stop playing professional soccer. #RBNY— Seeing Red (@SeeingRedNY) May 21, 2015
Nor was there any formal announcement of Peguy's retirement on May 22, the day after the Seeing Red episode dropped and the news was truly in the public domain.
Curiously, as it happens, the club had not removed Luyindula's name from the official roster on its site as of close of business on May 22.
And the Game Guide sent out to media as a preview to RBNY's next match still has Peguy listed as on the club's roster, just "unavailable". But that guide got sent out on May 21, and was probably put together earlier in the week, before Seeing Red was recorded on May 20.
Still, not to question Ali's complete openness, but he did also say on Seeing Red that Peguy's statement to him was "a bit of a surprise", which is an odd way to characterize a decision we've been told was on the cards since the start of the season. On March 9, the New York Post announced Luyindula would retire as Red Bull. This was, it turns out, an absolutely solid prediction (though "sources" at the time were predicting that retirement would occur in a matter of days, not months).
There is nothing surprising at all about this statement now, in late May. We've been waiting for resolution on Luyindula's situation for a long time - and retirement has been mentioned from pretty much the moment Peguy's absence from the squad was first explained.
Perhaps the meeting Ali referred to did happen in the last week, and his "surprise" was simply at seeing the long-absent player turn up in his office.
No biggie: a quick query to club will clear this whole matter up. Is Peguy officially retired? And is there a reason he's still on the club's roster?
RBNY's response was straightforward:
Peguy informed Ali his intentions to retire.
It's the league's call on when he is no longer listed on a roster.
Wait...how long has the league been aware of this situation and is there a time frame for him to be removed from the roster?
In response to further questions, Once A Metro was told there was no further information at this time. A request for comment from MLS did not draw a response in time for inclusion in this article.
So we may have to wait until Tuesday for formal recognition of the conclusion of Peguy Luyindula's career. Or at least his removal from RBNY's roster.
To be completely open, this is dissatisfying: the roster is full; even if it were not, Luyindula surely deserves a better send off than a brief mention in a (very interesting - listen to it) chat with the team's sporting director. And that chat took place on May 20, and was published on May 21. It is May 22: some sort of announcement could surely have been prepared by now.
But the statement elicited by Seeing Red is all we have for now. And Ali Curtis said he was being completely open, which means his comments should be taken to mean exactly what they imply: Peguy Luyindula has retired.
A few things seem a little weird, maybe even don't add up - but they will doubtless be addressed in due course.
We'll save the tributes for after the official announcement drops. Until then, sad to see you go, Peguy, but glad the matter is settled. Enjoy your retirement as much as we enjoyed the successes you brought us on the field.