Who is Nicolas Anelka?
Nicolas Anelka is a retired French football player who played for twelve clubs during his nineteen year of professional football career. This talented football player scored 210 goals in his career and effortlessly fulfilled the role of the main striker and second striker. Anelka's football career is marked by extraordinary achievements. He won the FA Cup and Premier League Cup for two football clubs. He also won the league titles for three different countries. His achievements on the field do not stop here. He has scored 69 goals for France in international games. Though Anelka had a successful career, he is mostly remembered for his moody and disruptive behavior. He was only twenty years old when he was branded ‘Le Sulk’ by his fellow football players for not being a team player and always having a frown on his face.
Childhood & Early Life
Nicolas Sebastien Anelka was born on March 14, 1979 in Le Chesnay, France. His parents were immigrants from Martinique.
His parents moved to Trappes, France and that is where he grew up. He was trained at the Clairefontaine Academy, which is run by the French Football Federation.
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After finishing his training at the Clairefontaine Academy, Nicolas Anelka made his debut at the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 1996. He went on to win the Premiere League and PFA Young Player of the Year title. He was soon noticed and offered a chance to play for Arsenal for a hefty fee of 500,000 pounds.
He joined Arsenal in 1997 and scored his first goal in the game against Manchester United. Anelka played a key role in helping Arsenal win Premier League. In 1999, Anelka earned the title of the PFA Young Player of the Year.
In 1999, he moved to the Real Madrid for a sum of 22.3 million pounds. He was very excited about this move but it turned out to be a very bad experience. Many of his ex-team mates were not happy about his move. On top of that he had a dry run at the net. He finally managed to score his first goal after five long months. His second and final goal for Real Madrid was in El Clasico against Barcelona. He did help Real Madrid win the Champion League trophy that year.
His bad run with the Real Madrid ended in 2000, when he shifted back to PSG. During his one and a half season stay with this club, Anelka managed to only score ten goals. He also had strong disagreements with Luis Fernandez, the head coach.
His time with the PSG ended in 2001, when he was loaned to Liverpool. He made 22 appearances for Liverpool and scored five times, but Gerard Houllier, the manager, refused to sign him permanently. It was something that Houllier later admitted was a mistake.
The next club that Nicolas Anelka played for was Manchester City. He joined Manchester City in 2002 for a whooping fee of 13 million pounds. Here he shined like a bright star and scored at every given opportunity. During his first season for the club, he scored 14 times. In fact, he was the top scorer for 2002-2003 season.
The next season, he took his goal tally to 25 goals, which included a penalty that led to Chelsea's defeat in 2004. He scored a total of 46 goals for City.
In 2005, he was signed by Fenerbahce, an Istanbul based multi-sports club, for a fee of 7 million pounds. He played a key role in the club winning the Turkish Super Lig title.
After spending a little over a year with Fenerbahce, Anelka moved on to Bolton Wanderers in August 2006. In his first season here, he scored 11 goals. During the summer of next season, he signed a four-year extension contract with the club.
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He gave his best to Bolton and in January of 2008, he moved to Chelsea for a hefty fee of 15 million pounds. His first season here is remembered for their game against Manchester United in the Champion League final. Nicolas Anelka was given the chance to play the final penalty shootout, which he missed.
Anelka created a little controversy when he blamed Avram Grant, the coach, for giving him the penalty shootout without a proper warm up. However, the next season was great for Anelka. He really improved his game under Coach Carlo Ancelotti.� He scored 19 goals and was awarded the Premier League Golden Boot. Plus, Chelsea was the winner of FA Cup in 2009.
The next season was even better. Chelsea went on to win not only the League but also the FA Cup and Anelka was key in both the wins.
Anelka stayed with Chelsea for four years and during his stay he had 184 appearances and scored a total of 59 goals.
His next big move was to Shanghai Shenhua in January of 2012. His dry run at the goal post and the inability of Shanghai to move up in the league, led to early exit of Anelka. In 2013, he was loaned for five months to Juventus.
Juventus won the 2012-2013 Series title but during his five months stay, Anelka made only three appearances and scored zero goals. He was not happy here so when he got a chance to move to West Brom he signed up immediately. The transfer was done in July of 2013 and it was for free.
His stay with West Brom was full of controversies. There were constant rumors that he was going to quit football and that he had even quit a training session in the middle.
He scored his first goal in December 2013. After scoring the goal, he celebrated with a gesture that is looked upon by many as an inverted Nazi salute. Of course, Nicolas Anelka denied that he was being anti-Semitic. The disciplinary committee did not find him anti-Semitic, but did ban him for five games and fined him�� 80,000 pounds.
His next move was to Mumbai City. He scored only two games here but was given the opportunity to become the player-manager. He was with Mumbai City from 2014 to 2015.
He retired from football in 2016. In 2018, he became a youth forward coach for Lille.
Controversies & Scandals
During the 2010 World Cup, Nicolas Anelka abused Raymond Domenech, the French coach, in the dressing room. He refused to apologize and as a result was sent home in the middle of the tournament.
Family & Personal Life
Nicolas Anelka’s parents immigrated to France in 1974. His mother was a secretary in a high school. He has two brothers who have worked as his agents during his football career.
He got married to Barbara Tausia in 2007. His first son, Kais, was born in 2008 and his second son, Kahil was born in 2010. His daughter, Lina Anelka, was born in 2013.