France’s World Cup campaign was certainly a calamitous one, Nicolas Anelka sent home after an argument with then manager Raymond Domenech and the subsequent revolt left any distant dream of glory in tatters but the most recent story to materialise from the French Football Federation is perhaps even more staggering.
The 18 match International ban handed to Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka holds little point to it and is one which he is right to ridicule.
After all, Anelka himself admitted when he exited South Africa his international career was over for the shouting, and it seems the French Football Association have took action simply to try to assert their authority after player power reared its ugly head.
The peace in which Laurent Blanc needs to conduct a new era dictates such confounding chastisement but surely the new manager would rest easier knowing a player of Anelka’s ilk and quality was in his squad.
For Anelka has flourished at Chelsea, his work-rate on and off the ball has coincided perfectly with his selfless play and a career that was once described as nomadic should now be presented more favourably.
Anelka said: “This whole thing is nonsense, to turn the page because [new coach] Laurent Blanc needs to be able to work in peace. These people are clowns. I’m dying with laughter. The whole commission thing is a charade not to lose face.” And he may well have a chuckle, as the only team that will benefit from this is Chelsea.
He will again be a central figure in Chelsea’s hopes of retaining the Premier League and without the burden of International football the enigmatic Frenchmen may even equal his impressive goal tally last term.
Carlo Ancelotti has been good to Anelka during his time at Chelsea and the boss at the Bridge may well be repaid as his number 39 looks to replicate the form which has silenced those who one doubted him for what he is, a world-class centre forward.