Ex-Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny RETIRES aged 36 as he denies 'shocking' allegations of racism from Bordeaux ultras
FORMER Arsenal and Bordeaux captain Laurent Koscielny has announced his retirement from football and strongly denied "shocking" allegations of racism.
Koscielny, 36, left the French club in January after he was frozen out.
Alongside team-mate Benoit Costil, the former France international was accused of a lack of leadership and "scandalous, sometimes racist" behaviour by Bordeaux's ultras – accusations Koscielny strongly denies.
A statement read: "Following the article published in the Sud Ouest newspaper on March 22, 2022 entitled 'Girondins de Bordeaux. Costil and Koscielny, accusations of racism that shake', Laurent Koscielny was surprised, shocked but also saddened by the remarks made by one of the representatives of the Ultramarines 87 Group against him, which the press is now echoing.
"Without there being any ambiguity, he strongly disputes these accusations which have seriously [damage] him and which have repercussions on his family and those around him.
"In this regard, Laurent Koscielny underlines that the investigative work of the Sud Ouest newspaper which solicited more than thirty people (according to the journalist's statements) who formally denied the alleged racist behaviour of Laurent Koscielny.
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"As a reminder, if Laurent Koscielny has not been part of the professional staff of the club since the end of January 2022, he recalls that he is still an employee of the Girondins de Bordeaux.
"On this point, Laurent Koscielny intends to specify that he has 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 occupy a new [role] and to release [his] salary [as] proof of the concern he has for the best interests of the club.
"As such, he would like to thank the club for the mark of confidence shown in him by entrusting him with this position.
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"This mission is the extension of a career that has commanded the respect of all of his partners, coaches and staff that he has worked with both in the club and in the France team.
"Laurent Koscielny also shares the club's position, which recalled in its press release that 'no document aimed at supporting these allegations has been brought to the attention of the Club, which in principle intends to exercise the greatest caution.'"
Koscielny had a successful 18-year playing career.
The centre-back started in France with EA Guingamp before moving on to play for Tours and Lorient.
Whilst at Lorient, Koscielny helped them to finish the campaign in 7th place and his consistent displays earned him a move to the Premier League to play for Arsenal.
The Frenchman went on to play the most games he has ever played for a single club, turning out for the Gunners on 353 occasions.
Koscielny won three FA Cups during his time at the North London club and made 51 appearances for his country.
However his nine year stint at the club ended under a cloud.
He refused to join the club's pre-season tour of the US after the club made it clear they weren't willing to sell him.
Eventually his hard line stance saw him get his way.
But he rubbed salt in the wounds with his announcement as a Bordeaux player seeing him star in a video in which he wore an Arsenal shirt, then took it off to show the colours of his new side underneath.
Gunners legend Ian Wright tweeted at the time: “This hurts. The level of disrespect. You should be ashamed for the way you’ve left the club after 9 years! Got what you wanted and still trying to have a dig. Hope it’s worth it in the long run.”
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