Nicolas Anelka to bring clinical finishing to Mumbai City FC
French striker Nicolas Anelka is Mumbai City FC's latest international signing.
Mumbai City FC today announced the signing of prolific French striker Nicolas Anelka for the inaugural season of the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL). Anelka will bring to Mumbai City FC nearly 20 years' of supreme experience playing top-quality football in some of the best teams of the world. In an illustrious career, he has played for celebrated football clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Juventus, among others, as well as being a star striker of the French national team. He will be among France’s most talented players to grace Indian soil during the ISL.
Anelka, whose career is packed with appearances at various levels of football, has the ability to make strong defenses nervous with his attacking abilities and is acknowledged the world over for his superior technique, aerial ability, shooting, and movement off the ball. The signing will make the 35-year-old player Mumbai City FC’s star striker as it strives to build a formidable outfit with world-class football players on board.
Commenting on the acquisition, team owner Ranbir Kapoor said, “We are delighted to announce the signing of Nicolas Anelka and thrilled that a player with a stunning pedigree such as his is part of our team. His abilities and experience are known the world over and I am certain his presence will give us the firepower required upfront. We welcome him to the Mumbai City FC squad.”
On joining Mumbai City FC, Nicolas Anelka said, “I am pleased to join Mumbai City FC and through it participate in the exciting Indian Super League. Talented international players and top Indian talent will make matches thrilling affairs. I look forward to using my ability to do well for my team in the matches we play.”
Showing great potential for scoring goals, the 6 ft 1 in player made his debut as a 16-year-old at Paris Saint-Germain in February 1996. He soon moved to Arsenal under newly appointed manager Arsène Wenger and, though first team opportunities were limited in the 1996-97 season, he broke into the first team in the 1997-98 season, after a long-term injury to striker Ian Wright. In November 1997, Anelka scored his first goal for Arsenal in a 3–2 home win against Manchester United. Anelka was a key player in Arsenal's "Double" win, of both the Premier League and FA Cup that season. He scored the second goal in Arsenal's 2–0 win over Newcastle United in that season's FA Cup final.The following season, he won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award after he was Arsenal's top scorer with 17 Premier League goals. In all, he made 90 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 28 goals.
Anelka moved to Real Madrid in 1999, making 19 appearances for the team and helping the team win the UEFA Champions League, before returning to Paris Saint-Germain. He spent the end of the 2001-02 season in Liverpool, helping the team finish second in the table. After this, he signed for Manchester City and finished as the team’s top scorer in his first two seasons.
After three seasons at City, in 2005, Anelka moved to Turkish professional football team Fenerbahçe for two seasons where he helped the team qualify for the Champions League before returning to England to join Bolton Wanderers. After two seasons there, Chelsea signed the Frenchman. After struggling in his first season with the Blues, he finished his second season there as the top goal scorer with 19 goals, and helped the team win the FA Cup. The next season in 2009-10, Anelka achieved the second league and FA Cup double of his career.
In 2012, Anelka got his first flavor of Asian football by playing for Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua for a year where he played a dual role of player and coach. He moved back to Europe to play with Juventus for a six-month loan deal in 2013, following which he signed for West Bromwich Albion.
Anelka has played 69 times at the international level and won his first international honours with France at Euro 2000, and the Confederations Cup the following year.
With the signing, the Mumbai franchise has added yet another international quality player to its squad for the inaugural season of the ISL, which kick-starts in October 2014.