Didier Drogba has had his request to leave Shanghai Shenhua on loan before the opening of the transfer window rejected by FIFA.
With the Chinese Super League season ending this month, the 34-year-old striker had applied for special dispensation to join another club on a temporary basis before the new campaign begins in March 2013.
That led to speculation he would look to rejoin Chelsea, the club he left in the summer after winning the Champions League, in the immediate wake of Roberto Di Matteo's sacking on Wednesday.
Another of Drogba's former clubs, Marseille, had also been linked with taking him on loan.
However, FIFA has prevented those possibilities until at least the New Year by turning down his request.
A FIFA statement read: "We can confirm that the player Didier Drogba submitted a request for authorisation to be registered outside an open registration period for a club on a loan basis.
"FIFA has informed him about the relevant regulations... that players may only be registered during one of the two annual registration periods fixed by the relevant association."
That greatly reduces his chances of securing a loan move anywhere because he is set to captain Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations in South Africa, which begins on January 19.