- Dec 19, 2003
Full name: Nicolas Sébastien Anelka
Date of birth : 14 March 1979 (age 33)
Place of birth : Le Chesnay, France
Height :1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 77 kg
Playing position: Striker
Nicolas Sébastien Anelka (French pronunciation: ​[ni.kɔ.la a.nɛl.ka]) (born 14 March 1979) is a French footballer who is currently a player and assistant manager of Shanghai Shenhua. Anelka was also a regular starter for the French national team. Former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has described him as a quick player with good aerial ability, technique, shooting, and movement off the ball. Anelka began his career at Paris Saint-Germain, but soon moved to Arsenal. He became a first team regular and won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award the following season. Real Madrid signed him for £22.3 million in 1999, a record fee at the time, but he did not settle in well and returned to Paris Saint-Germain in a £20 million deal. Despite regular first team football in Paris, Anelka set his eyes upon the Premier League once more; he went on loan to Liverpool in January 2002 but joined Manchester City for £13 million at the start of the 2002–03 season.
After three seasons in Manchester, he moved to Fenerbahçe for two seasons before returning to England to join Bolton Wanderers – in deals worth £7 million and £8 million, respectively. He transferred to Chelsea from Bolton for a reported £15 million in January 2008. During his transfers over the years, he has built an aggregate transfer cost of just under £90 million. On 12 December 2011, Shanghai Shenhua announced that they have reached an agreement with Anelka to join the team when the winter transfer window opens.
Anelka has played many times at international level and won his first international honours with France at Euro 2000, and won the Confederations Cup the following year. His failure to settle at club level limited his international appearances, but he returned to the national team for the Euro 2008 competition. On 19 June 2010, Anelka was excluded by the French Football Federation from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for "comments directed against the national coach, Raymond Domenech, unacceptable to the FFF, French football, and the principles they uphold." Two months later, having failed to turn up to his disciplinary hearing, he was banned for France's next eighteen games by the FFF, effectively ending his international career.
Anelka was born in 1979 in Le Chesnay, Yvelines, to parents who had migrated from Martinique in 1974. Thereafter they settled in Trappes, near Paris. His mother is a secretary in the local high school. He has two older brothers Claude and Didier. His brother Claude until 2010 managed a minor league football club in Missouri while his other brother Didier is a high school accounting teacher.
Anelka started his career at Paris Saint-Germain as a youth player at age 16 and was said to have great potential for scoring goals.
In February 1997, at the age of 17, Anelka joined Premier League club Arsenal for a fee of £500,000 under newly appointed manager Arsène Wenger. Anelka scored his first goal for Arsenal against Manchester United in a 3–2 home win. His first team opportunities were limited in the 1996–97 season, but in the 1997–98 season, he broke into the first team, after a long-term injury to striker Ian Wright. Anelka was a key player in Arsenal's "Double" win, of both the Premier League championship and the FA Cup trophy that season. Anelka scored the second goal in Arsenal's 2–0 win over Newcastle United in that season's FA Cup final.
A player with exceptional pace, he won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award in the 1998–99 season, but Arsenal failed to defend their Premier League title and made little progress in the UEFA Champions League, while Anelka wanted a better salary. Fans turned on the striker amid transfer speculation and a perceived lack of enthusiasm, giving him the nickname "Le Sulk." In all he made 72 first team appearances and 17 appearances as a sub for Arsenal, scoring 27 goals.
Anelka transferred to Real Madrid in the summer of 1999 for £22.3 million. Anelka began brightly, arriving as a record signing to the Madrid side. He had initial success, but soon fell out of favour with fans, fellow players, and new coach Vicente del Bosque, at one point receiving a 45-day suspension for refusing to train. Despite eventually returning to favour and figuring in the successful capture of the 1999-00 Champions League campaign (he scored vital goals in both legs of the semi-finals against Bayern Munich and started in the final).
Return to Paris-Saint Germain
Anelka signed a professional contract at Paris Saint-Germain, a return to the club at which he used to play as a youth player, in a transfer deal worth £20 million. Once again Anelka developed issues with the team coach, Luis Fernandez (who was already under pressure for benching Ronaldinho due to his work ethic) and became unsettled despite good form on the pitch.
Loan to Liverpool
After 30 months, Anelka returned to the Premier League in December 2001 with Liverpool on a short term loan deal until the end of the season. He contributed to Liverpool's late push to come second in the league, scoring goals against Everton, Fulham, Blackburn Rovers, Ipswich Town, and in the FA Cup against Birmingham City, but manager Gérard Houllier decided not to offer him a permanent deal after the end of the season in favour of signing his future Bolton teammate, El Hadji Diouf.
Anelka opted to join Manchester City on 24 May 2002, and the £13 million fee paid by manager Kevin Keegan was then a club record. In his first season at City he would end up top scorer at Maine Road with 14 goals including a goal in the last ever Manchester Derby at Maine Road, against former club Arsenal and a last minute winner at Anfield after scoring a penalty just moments earlier. In his second season at City he finished top scorer again in the clubs first season at the City of Manchester Stadium with 25 goals. Anelka started the 2004/05 campaign in clinical form again scoring the winner in José Mourinho's first ever defeat as Chelsea manager. In January 2005 Anelka decided to move on to Fenerbahçe.
In January 2005, Manchester City announced that Anelka had completed a £7 million transfer to Turkish team Fenerbahçe. Anelka helped the Turkish club win the league title in 2005, and played with them in the UEFA Champions League.
On 25 August 2006, Bolton Wanderers signed Anelka on a four-year deal for a club record of £8 million. Anelka made his debut for Bolton against Watford on 9 September 2006. He finished the 2006–07 season as Bolton's top scorer with 11 goals.
During January 2007, Anelka stated that he would be willing to leave Bolton for a return to former club Arsenal. However, Anelka pledged his future to Bolton in July 2007, following talks with manager Sammy Lee. Anelka later said he would reluctantly consider leaving the club if Bolton's poor start to the 2007–08 season continued, but later signed a new four-year contract until 2011 on 30 August.
On 11 January 2008, it was confirmed that Anelka would join Chelsea for £15 million. Anelka made his début against Tottenham Hotspur on 12 January 2008, and scored his first goal two weeks later in the FA Cup against Wigan Athletic. He scored his first league goal on 2 February against Portsmouth, but failed to score again for Chelsea during the 2007–08 season.
Anelka with Chelsea
In the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, Anelka delivered Chelsea's seventh penalty, which was saved by Edwin van der Sar, resulting in Manchester United winning the Champions League. Anelka later blamed manager Avram Grant for his penalty miss, claiming Grant brought him on to play as a late substitute without a proper warm up beforehand and also too late in the game to acclimatize himself in it.
On 3 August 2008, Anelka scored four goals in a 5–0 friendly win against A.C. Milan.
With Didier Drogba injured at the beginning of the 2008–09 season, Anelka made a very impressive start to the campaign. He scored 25 times – 19 of which in the Premier League, making the Frenchman the first player to reach 10 goals in the competition that season. For this, he was awarded with a Golden Boot Award on 14 November 2008 and was in the running for the end of season Golden Boot accolade. Anelka scored his first competitive hat-trick for Chelsea against Sunderland, in a 5–0 home win on 1 November 2008, and followed this up with two braces against Blackburn Rovers, then West Bromwich Albion. He established himself as an important member of the squad and maintained his place in the team despite the return to fitness of Drogba. After the arrival of Guus Hiddink, Anelka was more often played on the wing. Furthermore, he was ranked among the top goalscorers in the league for the season. He scored another hat-trick against Watford in the FA Cup to earn Chelsea a 3–1 victory at Vicarage Road. On 10 May, he scored one goal and set up another in a 4–1 away win against former club Arsenal. A goal in Chelsea's final Premier League game of the season at Sunderland put him as top goal scorer for the season in the Premier League, earning him the Golden Boot with 19 goals in total.
Anelka scored his first goal of the 2009–10 season against West London rivals Fulham in a 2–0 win at Craven Cottage, before continuing his fine form with the opening goal in Chelsea's 3–0 win over Burnley the following weekend. He netted his third goal of the season in the opening game of the UEFA Champions League group stage in the 1–0 victory over F.C. Porto. Anelka scored one of the best goals of his season against APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League with the ball being passed in to the net from outside the box. Anelka scored his third league goal of the season against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in a 2–0 win with the second goal coming from French team-mate Florent Malouda. Anelka continued his fine scoring run in the Champions League with the winner in the 1–0 victory over F.C. Porto at the Estadio Dragao, making Chelsea only the second ever English side to win at Porto's home ground. He continued his scoring in the season by scoring Chelsea's first goal in a 3–3 draw against Everton in the Premier League, his first goal in the competition since October. He followed that up with another goal in Chelsea's 2–1 victory over Portsmouth. On 16 January 2010 on his return from injury, Anelka scored twice in an astonishing 7–2 victory over Sunderland. He continued this fine form into the next match scoring in an FA Cup tie against Preston North End bringing his tally in the previous 4 matches to 5 goals. Talks over his contract have stalled leading to rumours of yet another move to another club. After the return of Drogba from the African Cup of Nations, Anelka had been playing on the wing to support him. Anelka scored his first goal since January in a 1–0 win over his old team Bolton Wanderers in April 2010 putting Chelsea four points ahead of second place Manchester United. On the final day of the season Anelka scored two goals against Wigan Athletic, including the first Chelsea goal in the sixth minute, to help Chelsea win their third Premier League title and their first in four years. Anelka (along with Ashley Cole) joined Henning Berg in the exclusive band of players who have won the Premier League title with two different clubs. On 24 June 2010, Chelsea Football Club announced that Anelka had signed a new one-year extension to his existing contract that will keep him at the club until 2012.
Anelka started the 2010–11 campaign in fine form for Chelsea. He assisted Florent Malouda's last goal against West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the season, scored a double in the next game against Wigan Athletic, and won a penalty against Stoke City in Chelsea's third game of the season. He continued this fine form in Chelsea's first Champions League game, scoring a first half brace against MŠK Žilina. Further goals against Marseille and Spartak Moscow ensured that this was the first season since playing for Paris Saint-Germain that he had scored at least four goals in a UEFA Champions League Season. On 19 October, during Chelsea's Champions League group-stage match against Spartak Moscow, Anelka continued his impressive goal scoring form in the Champions League, scoring the second goal of the match and his 50th goal for Chelsea in the 43rd minute of the game. He ended the 2010–11 season with 16 goals from 45 appearances in all competitions.
Anelka scored Chelsea's first goal of the 2011–12 season against West Bromwich Albion in a 2–1 victory. However, this would prove to be Anelka's final goal for Chelsea as he failed to find the net in 14 further appearances in 2011. On 3 December 2011 after Chelsea's 3–0 victory against Newcastle United, manager André Villas-Boas confirmed to the media that Anelka along with Alex had submitted transfer requests to the club and would be free to leave Chelsea in January. On 12 December, Chelsea confirmed that Anelka would head to the Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. It was rumored that his salary would be as high as £175,000 a week. After being transfer-listed, Anelka revealed that Villas-Boas banned him from from using the first-team car park, forced to use separate changing rooms and made to train with the youth team. He said "Ever since I was punished they put me with the youngsters.'I’ve got all the kit and equipment that professionals have but they put me in a separate changing room – that’s football for you." Zhu Jun, owner of Shanghai Shenhua, confirmed that they had sealed a deal with Anelka in his weibo on 12 December. The official websites of Shanghai Shenhua and Chelsea also confirmed this transfer later on the same day.
Anelka played with Giovanni Moreno and his former Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba at Shanghai Shenhua.
On 1 January 2012, Anelka moved to the Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. His annual salary at Shanghai Shenhua was reported to be around €12 million. Following his move to the club, Anelka revealed that he turned down the chance to join his former club Paris Saint-Germain the previous month in favour of signing for Shanghai Shenhua and explained that his move was because he did not have attractive offers to remain within Europe. On 21 February 2012, Anelka scored a debut goal in a pre-season friendly match against Hunan Billows, just 40 seconds after the start of the game. Anelka failed to make his Chinese Super League debut due to ankle injury on the opening league game of the season against Jiangsu Sainty. He eventually made his CSL debut and scored his first CSL goal on 16 March 2012, in a 3–2 away defeat against bitter rivals Beijing Guoan. On 11 April 2012, Anelka was named as part of the coaching staff to help struggling manager Jean Tigana until Sergio Batista came.
On 19 June 2012, it was confirmed that Anelka's former Chelsea-teammate Didier Drogba would join Shanghai Shenhua. On 7 June 2012 it was claimed that Anelka was keen on a move back to the Premier League after he was involved in a heated exchange with a fan for refusing to bow in front of the travelling Shenhua fans with his fellow team-mates. Anelka provided two assists for Drogba and headed in a late equalizer to earn Shenhua a point in a 3–3 draw with Shandong Luneng on 25 August.
Anelka playing for France
At youth level, Anelka played for the French under-20 team at the 1997 World Youth Championship, and made his senior team debut for France in a goal-less draw with Sweden on 22 April 1998. Anelka was not selected for the 1998 World Cup winning squad but quickly became France's first choice centre forward during the Euro 2000 qualifying campaign, scoring the opening goal in France's 3–2 win over Russia on his first international start and scoring both goals in a comfortable 2–0 win over England at Wembley in February 1999. Anelka made his first appearance in a major tournament at Euro 2000; France went on to win the competition. He also formed part of the squad which won the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Despite a promising start, Anelka lost his place in the national team from 2001–2007 as he was not playing much first team football at club level, mainly because he was frequently transferred between clubs. When striker Djibril Cissé was forced out of 2006 World Cup due to injury, Olympique Lyonnais' striker Sidney Govou was called up as Cissé's replacement rather than Anelka, who described the decision as a "real shame... I was completely available and ready to play in this World Cup. I think I could have helped France."
Anelka came on as a substitute in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Lithuania on 24 March 2007, and scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory. Following his performance, Anelka was praised by Raymond Domenech: "It is the Nicolas I like to see... when he shows these qualities, he is a candidate for a permanent place." He also scored in the 2–0 victory against Ukraine on 2 June 2007.
Anelka featured in the France squad for Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. Anelka started France's first group game against Romania, but was substituted after 72 minutes. He did not start either of France's remaining two games in the tournament against the Netherlands and Italy, coming on as a substitute in both games.
Anelka played a key role in France's FIFA World Cup playoff against the Republic of Ireland. He scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute that put France in a good position with one away goal.
During the 2010 World Cup, Anelka was sent home after reportedly abusing coach Raymond Domenech at half-time during the 2–0 defeat to Mexico. Following criticism of his positioning by Domenech, Anelka is reported to have said, "Va te faire enculer, sale fils de pute" meaning "Go fuck yourself, dirty son of a whore." The incident was later reported by the media, and the player refused to publicly apologise when asked to by French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes. The next day, the squad refused to get to training in protest against Anelka's expulsion. Anelka was subsequently hit by an 18-game suspension from international football by the FFF as punishment for his actions, effectively ending his international career. Anelka later claimed to be "dying with laughter" at the 18-match ban, as he had already decided to retire from international play.