Steed Malbranque's contract at St Etienne terminated

Steed Malbranque
Malbranque left Sunderland last month after a 10-year stay in England

Steed Malbranque's contract with French club St Etienne has been terminated by mutual consent.

But the player and club have denied suggestions the Frenchman was leaving to care for his young son, who was reported to be suffering from cancer.

Malbranque's representatives released a statement on Monday saying he does not have a son and his family are fine.

The former Fulham, Spurs and Sunderland midfielder, 31, joined St Etienne in August following 10 years in England.

"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," read a statement on the club's official websiteexternal-link.

"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."

On Monday, London-based solicitors Thomas Cooper released a statement on behalf of Malbranque denying rumours about his private life.

"Steed has read with concern the recent stories currently circulating about him and his family," read the statement.

"He would like to reassure all of his friends in England and throughout world football that these stories are wholly without foundation.

"Steed does not have a son and his immediate family are all in good health. Steed does not know the origin of these stories but would like to stress that they are without merit.

"Steed trusts that the rumours will now cease immediately."

During a decade in English football, Malbranque made 301 Premier League appearances.

After impressing at Lyon following his debut for the club in 1998, Malbranque secured a move to Fulham in 2001 and went on to make nearly 200 appearances for the west London club.

Malbranque transferred to Tottenham in the summer of 2006, going on to make over 60 appearances, before joining Sunderland in 2008.

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