There has to be more to the story as to why Maxime Chanot left NYCFC

-Last week, Maxime Chanot left NYCFC

-The move did not make sense, especially with a few months left in the season

-There has to be more to the story as to why he left

Maxime Chanot, formerly of NYCFC
Maxime Chanot, formerly of NYCFC / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a little over a week since New York City FC announced that Maxime Chanot was leaving the club.  At first, shock and anger filled supporters’ emotions.  Then, sadness and gratitude mixed in.  No one thought the captain would leave the club, let alone in 2023. 

Many thought Chanot would finish his career in New York City and retire as a Pigeon.  He still plays at a high level.  His veteran presence was vital to the locker room and would have been important even if his minutes were reduced in 2024.  His knowledge and leadership were extremely valuable, especially to the young team. 

However, NYCFC said the reason for his departure was due to family.  The center-back had an opportunity to return to France and play in front of family and friends.  His new club, AC Ajaccio, provided that chance he had never had before.  It must be mentioned that Chanot was born and raised in Nancy, which is nowhere near the team. 

Fans were told this was what the NYCFC legend wanted.  Yet, it is difficult to believe that is the case.

There has to be more to the story of Maxime Chanot’s departure from NYCFC

Chanot is New York City FC.  He put his blood, sweat, and tears on the pitch.  He wore the crest with pride and always expressed his love for the club.  The veteran led his team with his head held high as well, despite the challenges in this not-so-great year. 

Plus, when he signed his contract extension in May of 2022, he expressed how he and his family were happy in New York.  That made it easy for him to decide to stay.  There was also the speech from this season that helped inspire the Pigeons to one of their wins.  He sounded like he wanted to lead his team to better days and not leave the team hanging out to dry. 

On the other hand, a source told Skyscraper Blues that NYCFC felt Chanot’s time with the Pigeons was up.  They thought they had good options at center-back with Thiago Martins and Birk Risa.  But was it not the point to bring Risa to add depth to the thin center-back position?  Was it not the point to slowly transition so that when Chanot could not play as often, the team would have great center-backs to choose from? 

There is clearly more to the story.  The captain’s departure was fast and sudden and did not make sense.  Rumors swirled as to why he was leaving, and many thought it was due to Nick Cushing.

It was his cryptic posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, that proved the story told was not complete.  He deleted them shortly after, but thankfully, screenshots allow the internet to live forever. 

The first post was a picture of Chanot sitting in front of the NYCFC crest.  He held a coaching license certificate, implying that he has been taking courses to be a coach.  This hints he has plans to continue his career in football after his time as a player comes to an end.  He must have a desire to go into coaching. 

Moreover, was that a hint to fans to say he will return to NYCFC down the road?  Does he aspire to one day be a coach with the Pigeons?  Was he willing to take on a player-coaching role but was told no?  One can only make assumptions with this. 

The second post was the most telling.  Skyscraper Blues’ contributor, Leocciano Callao, posted a video during a press conference with Nick Cushing after the win over CF Montréal.  In the video, the head coach said that Chanot decided to leave the club during a difficult moment.  Afterward, the former player reposted the post, responding to the comments.  He wrote the words "difficult moment" but then added “which was created by” with a face over the mouth emoji. 

As mentioned, the supporters already thought there was a possible falling out between Cushing and Chanot.  His response made it seem there were some problems between the two.  In addition, he did not thank Cushing directly in his Instagram post about leaving the club. 

Also, the cryptic post made it appear he did not want to leave.  Perhaps a chain of events led to his eventual departure.  This might have been his way of calling out Cushing.  He deleted it and could use that as a defense to claim he was emotional if he does want to return to NYCFC in some capacity.  At the same time, he wanted the supporters to know that his transfer was not entirely about family. 

Therefore, the story of Chanot’s departure is not completely written.  The captain should have had an ending where he retired with the Pigeons.  Furthermore, if it was truly his wish to go back to France, then why would the club not want to be honest about that?  He should have had a proper send-off during that Montréal match.  The transfer window in France did not close until a couple of days later, so it was doable. 

Maybe one day, the entire story will be told.  For now, New York City FC fans know this to be true: the club was not entirely truthful about his departure.