Welp. It’s official.
Chicago Fire defender Joao Meira announced on Twitter that he will not be back next year.
I'd like to announce that I will not be a member of the Chicago Fire for the 2018 season. Thanks for these two years of my career and best of luck to all my teammates who stay at the club.— João Meira (@joaomeira06) November 18, 2017
To you Fire fans, I really appreciate how you have treated me since I arrived. pic.twitter.com/WZFyy4ykhN
There had been rumbling for months that Meira was eyeing the exits, largely out of a desire to return home and spend more time near his family. When he took to social media last month to try and sell his car, some saw it as about an official confirmation as you can get without him saying the words. With the club reportedly not willing to pay him the wages he demanded to make staying in the United States worth his while, the final nail in the coffin was driven.
While this was largely expected, and while Meira’s suspected reasons for needing to move on are perfectly understandable, this is still a blow to the Fire. We’ve argued before that Meira was absolutely crucial to their run of form this season, and we stand by that argument. Replacing him will require cunning, ambition, and a sense of urgency.