Delantero Sin Equipo: The Embarrassing Saga of Alan Pulido

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There are easy ways and difficult ways for a football player to cut his teeth and cleats in Europe. Mexican forward Alan Pulido has chosen, to quote the ancient knight from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, quite “poorly” and has now placed his “current” club Levadiakos FC against his “former” club Tigres UANL in a legal battle over his contract.

At the heart of the matter, is Pulido who has claimed free agency since his return to Mexico from the World Cup in Brazil (as one of the substitutes.) The drama began on July 31st, 2014, when Pulido released a public statement that claimed he was no longer a player at Tigres and was actually a free agent. The announcement arrived days after he skipped a number of training sessions with the team. On August 6th, Tigres president Alejandro Rodriguez claimed/clarified that Pulido’s contract is binding until June 30th, 2016.

Pulido didn’t care and was so certain of his status as a free agent that he up and left to Greece days later to train with Olympiacos F.C., a team that has had him in their sights since 2013. Tigres took the case to the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FMF), which sided with Tigres. Pulido, decked out in a pair of aviators and a fuckboy haircut, disagreed with the ruling and continued to claim his status as a free agent.

Things became very funny and embarrassing on January 29th when Pulido announced via Twitter that he signed a deal with Greek team Levadiakos F.C., good for 18 months. Hours later, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), a pseudo-Supreme Court for all matters related to sports, sided with Tigres. It took only a matter of hours for the striker’s dream to blow up in his face.

He does have one more shot at freedom by taking his case to FIFA. The odds of soccer’s governing body siding with him are, apparently, a raspado’s chance in Death Valley. “FIFA will ask the FMF why it didn’t give the (international transfer) pass,” said Rodriguez, “and they’ll say that in December they ruled that Alan has a valid and current contract. Also, it will know the CAS denied the provisional pass.”

It’s safe to assume that Pulido must now play the role of the prodigal son and return to Mexico and to Tigres and either play to his contract’s end or convince the team to sell his contract. Rodriguez also stated that the doors for Pulido’s return are wide open although coach Ricardo “Tuco” Ferretti may not be as welcoming. “He doesn’t train with us,” he said, “so why the hell would I miss him?”

Levadiakos F.C. could also face sanctions from FIFA with a financial fine and a two-year ban on new signings for Pulido without going through Tigres. If there’s anything Pulido’s been good at these past eight months, it’s the art of fucking teams over.

To make matters worse, Pulido hasn’t played in an official match since April of last year. The lack of playing time and training combined with his unprofessional behavior during this weird and embarrassing saga is a huge blow to his club and national team career. It’s entirely possible that he’ll have lost over a year of his career in a contractual purgatory of his own creation once this ordeal is sorted out.

Pulido now has two options: rejoin Tigres or take a sabbatical from the sport until July 1st, 2016. It’s clear to the rest of us what the best option is but Pulido’s stubbornness may, unfortunately, hold out even longer.