Nemanja Nikolic Leaves Chicago Fire, Thorough Club Rebuild Underway

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nemanja nikolic

For the Chicago Fire, this is what you call a thorough rebuild; a wholistic process that involves a major tear down phase first. In the past week, the Chicago Fire have lost not one, but two men who have held the designated player status.

Nemanja Nikolic, a 2017 MLS All-Star and Golden Boot Award winner, made a shocking announcement on his facebook page over the weekend- he’s leaving the club. Nikolic, 31, leaves as the club’s second all-time scorer with 51 goals. Only Ante Razov (76) had more. With 35-year-old Bastian Schweinsteiger announcing his retirement on Tuesday, the club has now lost its two best, highest profile players within five days of each other.

Of course, some level of shake-up was to be expected, as the club finished 10th and 8th in the MLS eastern conference the past two seasons, despite having one of the biggest payrolls in all of Major League Soccer.

nemanja nikolic

And with a new owner, plus the club moving back to the city and out of the suburbs, rebranding and even potentially renaming, the winds of change are blowing very strongly around the Chicago Fire right now.

“When a period of time is intense, if you concentrate and perform on daily basis, time passes by quickly,” Nikolic posted on his social media platform.

“It was a massive three years for me and my family. When I look at the memories I had in Chicago, I realize the huge amount of action that happened to me in the U.S. It was a big jump. We went far from home. …

“People were skeptical about the adventure, but the unknown challenge motivated me and, luckily, I proved quickly that my decision was right.”

The Serbian born forward, who represents Hungary internationally, scored a single season club record with 24 goals in 2017.

On Thursday, the Fire did announce one minor addition- 25-year-old Spanish midfielder Alvaro Medran, who made six appearances for Real Madrid in 2014-15.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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