Marseille retire 29-year-old Mathieu Valbuena's number
The midfielder completed a £6 million move to Dynamo Moscow three days ago, and Marseille have wasted no time in marking his absence
The retirement of a player's number is reserved for a quiet period well into his late middle-age, once the silverware on the mantelpiece has collected an appropriate amount of dust.
Marseille however do not seem to have got the memo. The giants of the French Riviera lost their star midfielder Mathieu Valbuena to Dynamo Moscow three days ago and have reacted with something akin to footballing mourning, retiring the player's number 28 shirt.
Valbuena's £6 million deal comes after the diminutive attacker impressed for Didier Deschamps' France side as they reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Brazil.
Perhaps Marseille's decision, officially announced by club President Vincent Labrune on Tuesday was influenced by the longevity of Valbuena's stay at the Stade Velodrome. He made 227 appearances for the club over eight years - a show of devotion rarely witnessed in the modern game.
The France midfielder impressed at the World Cup
Then again, maybe Marseille have simply hit upon the pointlessness of shirt numbers above twenty and found a convenient excuse to get rid of them. The club has made the same move with the number 21 shirt of Souleymane Diawara, who is currently in talks over a move along the coast to Nice.
Valbuena has moved on after eight years at Marseille
Diawara has appeared 154 times for Marseille - but he has only been at the club since 2009.
Marseille's logic sets a challenging new precedent for clubs across the globe. Gone are the days when a player's shirt would be raised to the rafters as he approached his octogenarian life - and now, it seems, is the era of the ice hockey style premature elevation to iconic status.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Fantasy Premier League: Invest in Arsenal to climb the ranks in Gameweek 23
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account