St Etienne have announced the immediate departure of goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier after a long-standing altercation between the player, manager and club.
Ruffier was reportedly unwanted by coach Claude Puel. The former Leicester City manager was unhappy with how Ruffier had performed for Les Verts and had promoted backup keeper Jessy Moulin ahead of him.
🚨 Saint-Etienne have released goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier from his contract. 👇
Frozen out of the team by Claude Puel all season (despite being clearly better than No.1 Jessy Moulin).https://t.co/AorhPPQgnA
— Robin Bairner (@RBairner) January 4, 2021
The club has released the following statement on the matter:
‘After the disciplinary proceedings against the player, AS Saint-Étienne decided to terminate Stéphane Ruffier’s contract, which ended on June 30, 2021.
Stéphane Ruffier is therefore free from any commitment. ASSE regrets having come to this decision, made ineluctable by the attitude of the player who undermined the institution.’
With the January window open, Ruffier is free to find a new club. The French international was regarded as one of Ligue 1’s top keepers but his form had dropped of late. There will still likely be no shortage of suitors for his signature with the 34-year-old having plenty of years at the top still left in him.
According to GFFN, the reason for the club removing Ruffier from the squad stems from the French keeper turning up late to a training session after Claude Puel had stated he was looking to move the player on during the summer window.
— Mohamed Bouhafsi (@mohamedbouhafsi) February 21, 2020
Les Verts are facing a difficult period having lost so much talent in the summer and not replaced it. The club were able to earn a lot of money from the sales of William Saliba and Wesley Fofana. However, the club only spent a meager fee bringing in Timothée Kolodziejczak from Mexican side Tigres UANL in the summer.
It is unlikely that the French club will be able to make significant investment this winter window either considering Ligue 1 and the situation it faces regarding its TV rights deal. St Etienne are 14th and 6 points above the relegation zone.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.