Steed Malbranque's representatives have dismissed reports the former Fulham, Tottenham and Sunderland midfielder has retired from football to care for a cancer-stricken son who does not even exist.
Reports emerging from France over the weekend, and repeated in a number of British publications, claimed that the 31-year-old, who joined French outfit St Etienne this summer, had decided to quit as his young son was suffering from cancer.
But in a statement released by solicitors working on the instruction of Malbranque's agent, Sebastien Boisseau, it is made clear that the Frenchman does not have a son and that no member of his immediate family is in ill health.
"Steed has read with concern the recent stories currently circulating about him and his family," read the statement which as issued by London-based solicitors Thomas Cooper.
"He would like to reassure all of his friends in England and throughout world football that these stories are wholly without foundation.
"Steed does not have a son and his immediate family are all in good health.
"Steed does not know the origin of these stories but would like to stress that they are without merit.
"He trusts that they will now cease immediately."
Malbranque's switch to St Etienne last month ended a 10-year stay in English football, during which time he made a total of 336 Premier League appearances.