Veteran New York City FC defender Maxime Chanot will join the French Ligue 2 side AC Ajaccio, the MLS club announced Tuesday.
Chanot, 33, departs as NYCFC's longest-tenured player at more than seven years. He totaled five goals and an assist in 165 career MLS matches (157 starts), including 19 appearances (all starts) this season.
"I have made the difficult decision to go back home to Corsica," Chanot said. "I left home when I was 14, it has been almost 20 years, and I was presented with the opportunity to play in front of my family, which I have never done. Until this opportunity arose, I never thought I would leave New York City, I love it here and have had the best years of my life here. When I first signed, I made a promise to only leave the Club after helping bring a championship to this great City and its passionate fans and believe I have delivered on that promise.
"There are so many memories that I will take with me. I arrived as a young kid, having the opportunity to play with legends of the game like David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, it was like a dream for me. The 2021 MLS Cup championship was like a Hollywood movie, winning the cup with that special group of players, after playing together for such a long time, is something I will always remember. Also, my time in New York, not only on the pitch but off of it, I've met so many great people. I am proud to say I am leaving this Club and this City as a man."
Chanot played a significant role in bringing NYCFC to the MLS Cup in 2021, playing every minute of the playoff championship run. He also captained the club in the 2022 Campeones Cup, playing the full 90 minutes in the victory over Mexican side Atlas FC.
"Maxime will go down as a New York City legend, his leadership and impact was felt as soon as he arrived, it's clear he cares deeply for this Club and has made it his home," NYCFC sporting director David Lee said. "He has been with NYCFC during his prime and has given the best years of his career to this organization.
"We understand this was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for Maxime and his family. While we would have preferred to wait until the end of the season, we felt it was right to accept the wishes of a player that has given us such great service over the years. Ultimately, we understand this was a unique opportunity for him, and one that wouldn't have existed if we hadn't accepted now. Everyone at New York would like to thank Maxime for everything he has given to this Club and this City, we wish him and his family all the best moving forward."
—Field Level Media