LESS than 100 hours after hoisting the A-League trophy, Sydney FC's international star Dwight Yorke has been told to pack his bags.
And Yorke, the former Manchester United ace, is upset at the alleged backroom deal to force him out of the game in Australia.
Yorke has let his friends and teammates know he has come to love Sydney and the club.
But the Trinidad and Tobago international, reportedly paid a base salary of $900,000 a season, wants to honour the remainder of his contract that has a year to run.
"Someone influential at the club has rung my agent and told me I can go," a clearly emotional Yorke said on Fox Sports' Total Football yesterday.
"To set the record straight, I have a two-year contract with Sydney.
"But behind the scenes I've been told I can go. As to the reasons why, that is not for me to say. Someone who is involved with the club has told me I can go."
Sydney FC chief executive Tim Parker last night disputed Yorke was being pushed.
"It is simply not true," Parker said. "We are not releasing him.
"What we've told Dwight's agent is that we're happy for him to return to the UK in the short term and reach a certain level of fitness for the World Cup.
"But should something open up for him longer than short term, we've told his agent we wouldn't stand in his way."
When Yorke was asked why he believed he was being pushed, he said: "I simply don't know. I haven't a clue.
"No one is forcing me out as such, but I've been told through my agent that I can go.
"I want to stand by my contractual agreement with Sydney FC, with whom I signed a two-year deal.
"My immediate plans are to go back to the United Kingdom and prepare for the World Cup in Germany."
Sydney FC director Peter Turnbull said: "I've got no comment. There's a contract in place with Yorke for a second season with Sydney FC."
There is speculation that Yorke will be replaced next season by Gabriel Batistuta, the Argentine international and superstar of the Italian Serie A.
Batistuta, who announced his retirement in March last year, was in the 41,000-plus crowd at Aussie Stadium last Sunday to see Yorke produce the pass that led to Steve Corica's winning goal against Central Coast.
Batistuta, 39, is no stranger to this country, having been a regular visitor to Western Australia.
Yorke's most immediate priority is to get regular top-flight football to prepare for the World Cup finals in June in Germany, where he will lead Trinidad and Tobago.
"Three months is a long time without football," said Yorke, who has been invited to train with Manchester United.
"You need games. I don't want to go to the World Cup lacking match fitness."
Yorke, 35, is believed to have received offers from Europe, Japan and the Middle East.
The A-League is sponsored by Hyundai, which is also believed to have picked up part of the tab for Yorke, but its Australian public relations general manager denied last night speculation that Yorke's choice of motor vehicle was an issue with his company.
"I wasn't aware there was an issue with Dwight Yorke's contract with Sydney FC," Power said.
"But we at Hyundai understand that Mr Yorke's normal mode of transport is a Ferrari.
"While Hyundai is already at the top level of Japanese quality and finish, we don't pretend to be at Ferrari's level of sports-car appeal.
"The type of motor vehicle Mr Yorke chose to drive in his time in Australia was optional.
"Dwight Yorke was a key player and proved to be a key attraction for football's resurrection in Australia."
Yorke is due to leave for England next week and it is understood he will miss the A-League's inaugural awards dinner on Monday night.
Sydney FC chairman Walter Bugno declined to be interviewed.