Laurent Koscielny has confirmed he has retired from professional football to focus on a career behind the scenes at Bordeaux.
The former France international signed for the Ligue 1 side in 2019 after a successful spell with Arsenal, where he won two FA Cups and was generally considered one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
This season, Koscielny was a regular starter for Bordeaux and usually wore the captain's armband, but he has not been seen since December's 3-2 defeat to Lille.
At the same time, Koscielny has faced allegations of racism from some supporters and a former employee of the club - accusations which the 36-year-old vehemently denies.
In response to fresh claims against him, Bordeaux released a statement to Sud-Ouest on behalf of Koscielny. The focus was on denying the allegations, but they also clarified Koscielny's new role at the club.
"Laurent Koscielny was surprised, shocked but also saddened by the remarks made by one of the representatives of the Ultramarines 87 Group against him," a statement read. "Without there being any ambiguity, he strongly disputes these accusations which have seriously hurt him and which have repercussions on his family and those around him.
"As a reminder, Laurent Koscielny has not been part of the playing staff since the end of January 2022, but he is still an employee of Bordeaux, now occupying functions related to the representation of the club. Laurent Koscielny intends to explain why he decided to hang up his boots when he would have preferred to help the club on the pitch.
"Aware that the club was in difficulty, he accepted the proposal made to take up a new role and release his salary - proof of the concern he has for the best interests of the club.
"As such, he would like to thank the club for the confidence shown in him by entrusting him with this position. This mission is the extension of a career that has commanded the respect of all his team-mates, coaches and staff that he was worked with both at club level and with the France national team."
Bordeaux go on to back Koscielny and insist they will continue to do so until they see any evidence against the former defender, stressing that no formal complaints have ever been made on the subject. An internal investigation was opened and quickly closed, with the club not finding anything to worry about.
Amid all this chaos, Bordeaux have endured a challenging time in Ligue 1. The six-time champions are in a relegation battle, having only won four of their 29 games.
They sit bottom of the league, five point adrift of a play-off spot with nine games to go.