Former Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Arsenal striker Nicolas Anelka has effectively ended his playing career after joining Algerian outfit Nasr Athletic De Hussein-Dey as an athletic director.
When you see what Nicolas Anelka has done in his professional career, you would imagine him to be completely satisfied and have no regrets at all. But, that is not the case with the Frenchman.
Anelka thinks he could have done a few things differently during his career.
The thing which Anelka regrets the most is not being able to pen a permanent deal with Liverpool FC.
Anelka had made his way to Anfield on loan towards the end of 2001 and he spent a successful six months there.
Gerardo Martino, the new Argentina manager, has sent a positive signal to the sidelined forward Carlos Tevez. He has said that there is no reason why the Juventus player can’t make his comeback to the national team.
Tevez has been out of international football since 2011. He was not there to represent Argentina in World Cup either which was considered a shame by some people as he had a fruitful season with his club Juventus in the Italian top tier. He was the third highest scorer in the Serie A last season.
The career of the Frenchman Nicolas Anelka has been going through a dip since his last few seasons at Stamford Bridge where he made 41 league appearances during both of that campaign but only managed on scoring 7 goals. When the Premier League season of 2011-12 concluded, he was sold to the Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua where he was reported to earn around €12 million in his annual salary despite only scoring on 2 occasions on 22 matches.
Around 1 month ago Nicolas Anelka was fined with a €80,000 sanction as well as being banned for 5 days after the French forward made a controversial goal celebration which would ultimately conclude with Anelka terminating his contract with West Bromwich Albion as he became a free agent.
It wasn’t until a few days ago that the veteran attacker signed with a new club as he agreed to make a free transfer and join the Brazilian side Athletic Mineiro but even though everything seemed to be already done, the move has collapsed.
West Brom bought in Pepe Mel as the replacement for Steve Clarke only a few weeks ago, but results have not improved following his arrival and the club are continuously slipping towards the drop zone. This could force the club into taking an action, according to the manager himself.
Nicolas Anelka has made it clear that he doesn’t want to move away from England at this point of time.
The French player has constantly been in the news for the last few weeks due to his controversial way of celebration after finding the net in the league match against West Ham United. He has taken a bit of hammering from the Football Association for that and has been warned not to do that again on the pitch.
There were rumours that Anelka has fed up with all the criticism that he has been receiving for that goal celebration and he has started thinking seriously about transfer, but, as per the veteran striker, there is nothing like that. He is comfortable in England and isn’t willing to leave at all.
When asked about the rumours of him planning to leave England, Anelka said, “You need to have a reason to make a move away. I don’t have any at the moment. I am absolutely fine at this club and I don’t think I have done anything drastically wrong. I am just looking to concentrate on my game.”
Anelka might end up getting banned for that celebration act. His hearing is believed to take place towards the end of this month and if he is considered to be at fault, he would have to remain out for at least 5 games.
This is Anelka’s debut season at West Brom. He had signed for the club in July last year on free transfer.
He has looked good since his arrival. He has had a couple of league goals under his belt and he is believed to be the key for the Baggies in their bid to finish above the relegation zone.
West Brom is currently at no. 17 in the points table with 22 points in 23 games.
Avram Grant has said that Nicolas Anelka could have become one of the all time greats, but, he didn’t manage to do so because of his lack of temperamental skills.
Grant was the man who had signed Anelka for Chelsea 6 years back in 2008.
Anelka has changed clubs quite frequently in the recent past and that has disturbed his rhythm. He hasn’t put up too many top class performances in the last one and half years.
Currently, the 34 years old French striker is playing for the English club West Bromwich Albion. He has so far scored a couple of goals in his 8 League appearances for the Baggies.
According to Grant, Anelka is someone who has got enormous amount of talent, but, when it comes to temperament, he is not that good.
The former Chelsea boss said, “Nicolas is certainly one of the most talented players I have ever worked with. He has got the ability to do wonderful things on the pitch. His speed is fantastic and he can beat any defender in the world, but, his biggest drawback is that he is not as passionate as a sportsperson should have. He has not been eager enough to keep improving his game.”
“It’s the temperament which separates good players and great players. You need to be temperamentally good enough if you want to become one of the greats of the game and I think that’s where Nicolas is a bit behind than some of the other guys. It’s a shame really. If he had had the right kind of mentality, he would certainly have achieved greatness.”
Anelka has scored more than 200 goals playing for various clubs all around the world in his 17-year long career so far.
West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke has categorically denied that he is at all worried about the lack of goals from star striker Nicolas Anelka as the competition for places in the Baggies attack heats up.
The 34 year old Frenchman has yet to find the back of the net for West Midlands side since he joined the Premier League club in the summer on a free transfer.
And with the likes of Saido Berahino, Victor Anichebe, Stephane Sessegnon, Shane Long, Markus Rosenberg as well as Matej Vydra vying for a start, Anelka has strong competition ahead of him and the former Real Madrid and Chelsea player hasn’t responded as expected from him in the situation.
However, the English manager is certain that this is just a blip in form the Frenchman is having and doesn’t doubt that he will once again find his touch in front of goal. West Bromwich Albion take on Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and speaking about Nicolas Anelka ahead of the match, Clarke stated that the thing about great strikers is that they will get into good positions even when they are not scoring and when they take up good positions, the goals are bound to come at some point or the other.
And he stated that has got to be the mantra of every striker, they must into those good positions in front of goal. He also stated that Victor Anichebe is back to full fitness and is available for selection and admitted that it gives him a headache. But he also stated that it is a good headache to have.
Nicolas Anelka is the senior most striker in his side and he hopes the experience of the Frenchman will rub off on the other players in the side as well.
James Morrison, the West Bromwich Albion midfielder was just a teenage ball boy for his first club Middlesbrough when the club made it big. And now, the Baggies star believes former French international Nicolas Anelka will have the same effect on the club that Fabrizio Ravanelli had on the Riverside club.
Steve Clarke clinched the surprise signing of the former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City player from Juventus in the close season and having played with him already on pre-season, Morrison cannot wait to line up alongside him when the team begins the new Premier League campaign in about two weeks.
And the Scotland international is also hopeful that Nicolas Anelka can raise the standards as Steve Clarke targets a few more signings before the club kicks off the new season on the 17th of August. Morrison remembers the effect the signings of former Italian international Ravanelli and Brazilian international and future World Cup winner Juninho had at the Riverside Stadium in the middle of the 1990s.
However, he will also remember clearly the slide Middlesbrough went through after that initial sizzle fizzled out and were relegated to the Championship after a few years and the 27 year old is hopeful under the management of Steve Clarke, West Bromwich Albion can avoid going through the same phase that Boro did all those years back.
He stated that when Ravanelli came, he was just an academy player and ball boy and that’s how he developed a love for the club. The club reached Wembley a couple of times and it was an experience to cherish forever. And Morrison is also hopeful if West Bromwich Albion can make a few more big name signings like that of Nicolas Anelka, the club will be in line for big things in the future.