Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal has revealed he tried to talk Jeremy Helan out of quitting football.
The 24-year-old Frenchman, a devout Muslim, is retiring from professional football to devote more time to his religion.
He joined the Owls in 2012 from Manchester City and has made over 100 appearances for the club, featuring in the Championship play-off final loss to Hull City at Wembley.
But he has featured just once this season, and Carvalhal is resigned to losing the left-sided defender.
“This is not something that is new to me, I have spoke to Jeremy since the first day of the season,” said Carvalhal.
“We had a long conversation. I have lived before in different countries, different mentalities, different religions.
“When Jeremy spoke to me, I understood him. I said to him to take some time and be sure of his decision.
“He has been very professional and is a nice guy. But his head wasn’t in the football, just the body.
“He has a talent to play football, and I did my best to keep him in football.
“I gave advice to him that he could stay in football and prepare what he is thinking about doing.
“For example, when I played in Portugal I played while studying at university. I said he could do both. But Jeremy is completely different, and his focus is on different things.
“I understand him, and you cannot play professional football when your head is not there.”
Carvalhal said Helan was prepared to turn his back on the wealth football offers in his pursuit of spiritual happiness.
He said: “I have tried my best to keep him in football – not just at Sheffield Wednesday – but he isn’t going to change his mind.
“We have a different mentality, with our thoughts on money. I can buy a car, apartment, house, and have a good life.
“Some people with a different mentality think completely different. They don’t care about material things, they prefer being in peace with themselves, follow a different style of life.”
The Owls host Nottingham Forest tomorrow and are waiting on the fitness of left-back Daniel Pudil.