Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka
Nicolas Anelka
Nicolas Anelka 4690.jpg
Anelka playing for Chelsea F.C.
Personal information
Full name Nicolas Sébastien Anelka[1]
Date of birth 14 March 1979 (1979-03-14) (age 32)[2]
Place of birth Versailles, France
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[3][4]
Playing position Striker / Winger
Club information
Current club Chelsea
Number 39
Youth career
1983–1993 Trappes Saint-Quentin
1993–1995 Clairefontaine[5]
1995–1996 Paris Saint-Germain
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1997 Paris Saint-Germain 10 (1)
1997–1999 Arsenal 65 (36)
1999–2000 Real Madrid 19 (2)
2000–2002 Paris Saint-Germain 39 (13)
2002 Liverpool (loan) 20 (4)
2002–2005 Manchester City 89 (45)
2005–2006 Fenerbahçe 39 (18)
2006–2008 Bolton Wanderers 53 (24)
2008– Chelsea 125 (62)
National team
1997 France U20 3 (0)
1998–2010 France 69 (14)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 November 2011 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Nicolas Sebastien Anelka (French pronunciation: [nikɔla anɛlka]; (Abdul-Salam Bilal after conversion to Islam) born 14 March 1979)[6] is a French international footballer, who plays as a striker for English Premier League club Chelsea. 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.[7]

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.[8] He is one of only three players to have won the Premier League with two different clubs.[citation needed]

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."[9] Two months later, having failing to turn up to his disciplinary hearing, he was banned for France's next eighteen games by the FFF, effectively ending his international career, despite an outcry from the football world who found it unfair and a strike from French players.[10]


Club career

Paris Saint-Germain

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.[citation needed]


In February 1997, at the age of 17, Anelka joined Premier League club Arsenal for a fee of £500,000[11] under newly appointed manager Arsène Wenger. Anelka scored his first goal for Arsenal against Manchester United in a 3–2 home win.[12] 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."[13] In all he made 72 first team appearances and 17 appearances as a sub for Arsenal, scoring 27 goals.

Real Madrid

Anelka transferred to Real Madrid in the summer of 1999 for £22.3 million.[14] 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[15] (he scored vital goals in both legs of the semi-finals against Bayern Munich and started in the final), he was surplus to the requirements to the club.

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.[citation needed] 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,[16] Fulham,[17] Blackburn Rovers,[18] Ipswich Town,[19] and in the FA Cup against Birmingham City,[20] 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.[21]

Manchester City

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.[22] 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 Jose 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.[23] Anelka helped the Turkish club win the league title in 2005,[citation needed] and played with them in the UEFA Champions League.[citation needed]

Bolton Wanderers

On 25 August 2006, Bolton Wanderers signed Anelka on a four-year deal for a club record of £8 million.[24] Anelka made his debut for Bolton against Watford on 9 September 2006.[25] He finished the 2006–07 season as Bolton's top scorer with 11 goals.[citation needed]

During January 2007, Anelka stated that he would be willing to leave Bolton for a return to former club Arsenal.[26] However, Anelka pledged his future to Bolton in July 2007, following talks with manager Sammy Lee.[27] Anelka later said he would reluctantly consider leaving the club if Bolton's poor start to the 2007–08 season continued,[28] but later signed a new four-year contract until 2011 on 30 August.[29]


On 11 January 2008, it was confirmed that Anelka would join Chelsea for £15 million.[30] Anelka made his début against Tottenham Hotspur on 12 January 2008,[31] 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.[6]

Anelka with Chelsea

In the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, Anelka's seventh and decisive penalty was saved by Edwin van der Sar,[citation needed] ultimately resulting in Manchester United winning the Champions League. Anelka later blamed manager Avram Grant for his penalty miss, claiming he was not given enough time on the pitch, neither was he given enough time to properly warm up before coming on as a late substitute. On 3 August 2008, Anelka scored four goals in a 5–0 friendly win against AC Milan.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34] 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.[35]

Anelka warming up for Chelsea

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 FC Porto.[36] 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.[37] Anelka continued his fine scoring run in the Champions League with the winner in the 1–0 victory over FC 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.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40] On the final day of the season Anelka scored two goals against Wigan Athletic, including the first Chelsea goal in the sixth minute,[41] to help Chelsea win their third Premier League title and their first in four years.[42] 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.[citation needed] 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.[43]

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 MSK Zilina. 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, netting the second goal of the match and his 50th goal for Chelsea in the 43rd minute of the game. Anelka scored Chelsea's first goal of the 2011-12 season against West Bromwich Albion.

International career

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[44] and scoring both goals in a comfortable 2–0 win over England at Wembley in February 1999.[45][46] 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.[47] 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."[citation needed]

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." [48] He also scored in the 2–0 victory against Ukraine on 2 June 2007.[citation needed]

Anelka featured in the France squad for Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland.[49] Anelka started France's first group game against Romania, but was substituted after 72 minutes.[50] 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.[51][52]

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.[53]

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.[54] Following criticism of his positioning by Domenech, Anelka is reported to have said, “Va te faire enculer, sale fils de pute”[55] meaning "Go and get yourself fucked, dirty son of a whore."[56] 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.[57] The next day, the squad refused to get to training in protest against Anelka's expulsion.[58] 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.[59]

Personal life

Anelka is married to Barbara Tausia, a Belgian choreographer. Together, they have two sons, Kais born in 2008 and Kahil born in 2010.[60] He acted in the 2002 film Le Boulet as a footballer named Nicolas. He has stated that, when he retires from football, he would like to work in the film industry because he has a friend in the business.[61] He said: "I have a friend who's a producer, who makes lots of films. He recently did Asterix. So it's already agreed that I'm going to do other films. It helps to know actors and producers. It's different to football and it's something I enjoy very much because there's no ball. I like pretending to be somebody else, it's fun."

After discussing religion with some childhood friends, Anelka converted to Islam in 2004 in the United Arab Emirates, taking the Muslim name of Abdul-Salam Bilal.[62][63] Initially, Anelka considered leaving European football to play in the UAE: "I am ready to stay here and to play for a club in the Emirates. I am not keen to go back to England or France." However, this did not come to pass and he briefly moved to Turkey instead.[64]

Anelka has two brothers, Claude and Didier.[65]


Club performance

As of 2 November 2011[6][66]
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
1995–96 Paris Saint-Germain Division 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
1996–97 8 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 10 1
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1996–97 Arsenal Premier League 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
1997–98 26 6 9 3 3 0 2 0 40 9
1998–99 35 17 5 0 0 0 5 1 45 18
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
1999-00 Real Madrid La Liga 19 2 0 0 –– 9 2 28 4
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
2000–01 Paris Saint-Germain Division 1 27 8 0 0 1 0 9 5 37 13
2001–02 12 2 0 0 0 0 7 3 19 5
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2001–02 Liverpool Premier League 20 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 22 5
2002–03 Manchester City Premier League 38 14 1 0 2 0 0 0 41 14
2003–04 32 16 4 4 2 0 5 4 43 24
2004–05 19 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 19 7
Turkey League Türkiye Kupası League Cup Europe Total
2004–05 Fenerbahçe Süper Lig 14 4 2 0 –– 2 0 18 4
2005–06 25 10 6 2 –– 6 0 37 12
2006–07 0 0 0 0 –– 2 0 2 0
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2006–07 Bolton Wanderers Premier League 35 11 3 0 1 1 0 0 39 12
2007–08 18 10 0 0 0 0 4 1 22 11
2007–08 Chelsea Premier League 14 1 3 1 2 0 5 0 24 2
2008–09 37 19 5 4 0 0 12 2 54 25
2009–10 33 11 4 1 0 0 7 3 44 15
2010–11 32 6 3 1 1 2 9 7 45 16
2011–12 9 1 0 0 1 0 4 0 14 1
Total France 49 11 0 0 2 0 17 8 68 19
England 352 123 39 15 12 3 53 18 456 159
Spain 19 2 0 0 –– 9 2 28 4
Turkey 39 14 8 2 –– 10 0 57 16
Career total 459 150 47 17 14 3 89 28 609 198

International statistics

As of 2 November 2011.


France national team
Year Apps Goals
1998 3 1
1999 7 2
2000 10 2
2001 7 1
2002 1 0
2003 0 0
2004 0 0
2005 2 1
2006 3 1
2007 10 3
2008 11 1
2009 9 2
2010 6 0
Total 69 14

International goals

Scores and results list France's goal tally first:

Career honours


Real Madrid





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External links

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