Rap sheet of 'bad boy' Nicolas Anelka

Jan 21, 2014, 18:03 IST | AFP

French striker Nicolas Anelka is back making headlines. And, once again, the bad boy of French football has grabbed the limelight for the wrong reasons -- a controversy.

LONDON: West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka was charged by the Football Association on Tuesday for performing an allegedly anti-Semitic salute during a recent match.

He has until Thursday to respond to the charge and if found guilty, he faces a minimum five-match suspension.

It is the latest in a string of controversies to have hit the 34-year-old former France striker, who was nicknamed 'Le Sulk' by the British tabloid press during the early years of his career.

Nicolas Anelka

A file picture taken on December 28, 2013, shows West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka gesturing as he celebrates scoring a goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion at The Boleyn Ground, Upton Park in east London. Anelka has been charged after making an allegedly anti-Semitic salute during a recent match, the Football Association announced on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

Here, AFP Sports looks at some of the occasions when his bad behaviour has made the headlines.

August 1998: Criticises Arsenal team-mate Marc Overmars for not passing the ball to him enough, telling a French newspaper: "I'm not getting enough of the ball. I'm going to see the manager soon because Overmars is too selfish."

May 1999: Laments his treatment at the hands of the British media, saying: "The one thing I can tell you is that I can't stand the English press, who cause me enormous problems on a personal level."

March 2000: A year after joining Real Madrid from Arsenal, Anelka falls out with coach Vicente del Bosque and is handed a 45-day suspension for refusing to train.

June 2002: After failing to secure a permanent transfer to Liverpool, following a season-long loan, Anelka blames the club's manager, Gerard Houllier. "It seems that Gerard Houllier did not appreciate my personality," he says. "It bothers him to have someone around who could stand up to him."

November 2002: Anelka rejects an international call-up for a friendly game against Yugoslavia and says that he will never play for France again.

August 2003: Anelka says that France coach Jacques Santini would have to "kneel down and apologise" for him to consider making an international return. The following March, Anelka publicly apologises to Santini.

January 2005: Joins Fenerbahce from Manchester City, only to declare six months later that he wants to return to England.

June 2010: Anelka is sent home from the World Cup in South Africa after clashing with France coach Raymond Domenech at half-time of their 2-0 loss to Mexico in the group phase. An explosive headline on the front page of French sports daily L'Equipe claims that Anelka told Domenech: "Go fuck yourself, you dirty son of a whore!" The France squad refuses to train in the wake of Anelka's exclusion, prompting a wave of international criticism.

August 2010: The French Football Federation bans Anelka for 18 matches over the incident at the World Cup. Anelka brands the FFF "clowns" and says he is "dying with laughter".

February 2012: Claims that he has been frozen out of the first team at Chelsea by coach Andre Villas-Boas. "Ever since I was punished, they put me with the youngsters," he says. "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."

June 2012: Argues with a Shanghai Shenhua supporter after refusing to make a customary bow to fans after a game for the Chinese club.

December 2013: Creates a media storm after celebrating a goal in West Brom's 3-3 draw at West Ham United by making a 'quenelle' salute. The gesture is associated with a French comedian, Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has been prosecuted for anti-Semitism.

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