Steed Malbranque has terminated his contract with St Etienne a day after his representatives denied reports the former Tottenham, Fulham and Sunderland midfielder had retired to care for an ill family member.
Reports emerged from France over the weekend, which were repeated in a number of British publications, claiming the 31-year-old, who joined Les Verts this summer, had decided to quit as his young son was suffering from cancer.
But a statement released to Press Association Sport last night by solicitors working on the instruction of Malbranque's agent, Sebastien Boisseau, made clear the Frenchman does not have a son and that no member of his immediate family was in ill health.
However, this morning the Ligue 1 outfit issued a further statement revealing Malbranque and the club have decided to terminate his contract by mutual agreement.
The statement on www.asse.fr read: "At a meeting held Monday night between the management of AS St Etienne and Steed Malbranque, both parties have decided, by mutual agreement, to amicably end their collaboration.
"St Etienne and the player would like to strongly deny all the rumours referring to the health of Steed Malbranque or children that accompanied the decision of the individual.
"This choice is his alone and ASSE fully respects Steed's will.
"The management of AS St Etienne would like to wish Steed the best in his choices and his future life."
Malbranque's switch to St Etienne last month ended a 10-year stay in English football, during which time he made a total of 336 Premier League appearances.
After impressing at Lyon following his professional debut for the club in 1998, Malbranque secured a move to Fulham in 2001 and went on to make over 200 appearances for the west London outfit.
Malbranque transferred to Spurs in the summer of 2006, going on to make over 60 appearances, before joining Sunderland in 2008.Reuse content