The Chicago Fire and Brazilian striker Gilberto have mutually agreed to sever ties Wednesday. The move comes about a month after he opted to take a personal leave from the club.
Gilberto's departure opens a designated player slot on the Fire roster, as well as an international player slot. Fire general Nelson Rodriguez had said earlier this season he did not expect to be busy during the MLS summer transfer window, which opens July 4, but that could change now.
Gilberto played nine games for the Fire this spring, failing to score but notching 2 assists. He had 5 goals in 10 games for the Fire in 2015 after joining the club July 27.
He was the team's highest-paid player at $1.145 million this season, according to MLS Players Union figures, but he forfeits the remainder of the money on his contract by agreeing to terminate his contract.
Gilberto's contract would have expired at the end of this MLS season.
Without Gilberto, 27, the Fire has just David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike, both DPs, plus first-year players Joey Calistri and Alex Morrell, who are considered forwards. Dutch forward Michael de Leeuw will be eligible to play starting with the July 9 game at Toronto FC.
The Fire is last in MLS in the standings and 19th in scoring with just 14 goals in 14 games.
Sources said Gilberto walked out on the team at the end of May after an emotional outburst. At that point team officials put him on "personal leave" and set up a personal training schedule for him at Toyota Park separate from his teammates.
Gilberto is expected to return to Brazil and sign with a club there. He met last weekend in Chicago with a representative from Santa Cruz, his youth club. He played for Vasco da Gama before joining the Fire last July. Bahia also is thought to be interested in him.
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