Algiers: Controversial French striker Nicolas Anelka was on Monday refused permission to join an Algerian club on the grounds that he was too old. The 35-year-old former Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus and Real Madrid star was on the verge of joining Nasr Athletique d'Hussein-Dey (NAHD).
But the move was blocked by the Algerian Football Federation, Mahfoud Kerbadj, president of the Algerian professional football league, told APS news agency. "The rules concerning foreign players being allowed to play in the Algerian league are clear," he said. "Only those aged under 27 and playing on the international level for their countries are allowed to sign up with our clubs."
Anelka has been training with NAHD and had hoped to sign an 18-month contract with what would have been his 13th club. The 69-capped forward's most recent employers were Mumbai City in the Indian Super League. Last March he was fired by English side West Bromwich Albion for "gross misconduct" after he made an alleged anti-Semitic gesture, known as a "quenelle", as a goal-scoring celebration.
That sacking was the latest in a long history of rows and disputes over the course of a career which saw him play for 11 different clubs in six different countries before heading to India. As well as playing in a host of top European clubs, he also had a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in China.