Nicolas Anelka has finally spoken out about what happened inside the French camp this summer as Les Blues were embarrassed in South Africa. As a result of being eliminated in only the group stage, coupled with a players’ revolt, the entire squad of 23 has been suspended for next week’s friendly match against Norway.
Anelka, speaking to France Soir, revealed what was said between him and former manager Raymond Domenech before he was sent home.
Anelka said: “We returned to the dressing room and, for five minutes, the players talked. The coach arrived and said to me: ‘Damn, Nico, I’ve told you to stop dropping back and stay up front.’
“I told him if I stay there, I do not get a touch of the ball, and said: ‘Stop telling me to stay up front. I won’t stay up front.’
“It carried on, but at that moment my head was gone. I wasn’t even listening to what he said.”
While captain Patrice Evra was heavily criticized for being at the heart of the players’ revolt, Anelka revealed that the Manchester United left back actually tried to mediate the situation along with Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery.
“[Domenech] said: ‘Go, it’s fine, leave’ and asked one of his assistants to get Dede (Andre-Pierre Gignac) ready,” Anelka continued.
“I said: ‘No problem, deal with your team.’
“Pat [Evra] and Franck [Ribery] were next to me and they said: ‘Stop, Nico, calm down. Let it go, shut up!’
“Then Pat asked me to put my jersey back on and said to the coach that these things happen all the time, that he should not react on a whim and make me leave. Again, the coach didn’t listen and made his changes.”
Anelka has since retired from the national team, and French media sources are still questioning how many members of the South African squad will ever play for Les Blues again.