Nicolas Sébastien Anelka (French pronunciation: [ni.kɔ.la a.nɛl.ka]; born 14 March 1979) is a French football manager and former player who played as a forward. Prior to his retirement from international football, Anelka was also a regular member of France national team. Known for his ability to both score and assist goals, Anelka was described by former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti 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, 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 had reached an agreement with Anelka to join the team in the winter transfer window. After one season there, Anelka joined Italian side Juventus on a six-month loan deal in 2013, after which he was released from Shanghai and signed for West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer. Following his dismissal by West Brom, he signed for Mumbai City FC as a Marquee Player and was named player-manager in 2015.
Anelka played 69 times at international level and won his first international honours with France at UEFA Euro 2000, and won the 2001 FIFA 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 (FFF) from the 2010 FIFA 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 18 games by the FFF, 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.Close