Time to retire, Claudio
June 11, 2008
"We have no idea when he is coming back." That phrase was spoken by Juan Carlos Osorio to BigAppleSoccer. The subject? Claudio Reyna.
We are not here to debate Reyna's usefulness on the soccer field. His best days are behind him, but on his healthy day, he can be considered a useful MLS player. The problem is, these healthy days are far and between. This year, Reyna has played in just six of the ten matches. In the last four games, he played in just one: the 5:1 drubbing by Chicago. And now, the next time he steps on the field has been moved to the unforeseen future.
Hopefully, that next time will not ever come. Hopefully, we have seen the last of Claudio Reyna in a New York uniform. Enough is enough.
At the crux of the problem is the Designated Player slot Reyna is taking up. That slot can be used to sign any player in the world. ANY PLAYER. A creative midfielder. A world class striker. A difference maker. Someone who does not get injured every other week.
Even beyond the DP slot, Reyna's salary counts as a 400K salary cap hit. Yes, there is some money under the cap, and yes, Jozy Altidore's transfer fee will bring Metro even more relief. Still, clearing that 400K should give Osorio enough flexibility to augment his struggling squad with quality players.
Last year, we were told that Reyna will play well when it matters. That he will rise to the task in the playoffs. What did we see? He left the decisive playoff match with yet another injury. The game was not even half hour old.
We don't know if Claudio cares about the fans. We don't know if Claudio cares about his teammates. We don't know if Claudio cares about his legacy. But if he does, there is only one solution. Retire, Claudio. Save face.
Metro can't cut you (your contract is guaranteed). They can't trade you (who would want you with this contract). They can't close their eyes and hope you'll simply disappear.
Hell, you don't have to simply retire. Take a buyout. A win-win for everyone involved. You still get paid; Metro gets back the DP slot and salary cap space. And Metro fans will love you more than they ever did when you were on the field.
But we got a feeling that Reyna doesn't care about that love from fans. He doesn't care about helping his teammates. He doesn't see the current situation as tarnishing his legacy. He just sees a paycheck -- and Metro fans are stuck watching his status hang over the entire team.
Spare us that charade, Claudio. Retire. Please.