Nicolas Anelka was booted out of the French World Cup squad in disgrace at the weekend after a foul mouthed rant directed towards his coach Raymond Domenech during the 2-0 loss against Mexico, but did the moody Chelsea forward have a right to be frustrated at the team’s current situation?
Whilst it is inexcusable to speak to your coach in such a way (especially when you refuse to apologise), but with so many players disconcerted in the same squad it is not Anelka who is the problem.
Although I have taken great delight in Les Blues’ failures after the manner in which they gained their qualification in the qualifier against the Republic of Ireland, but even Domenech’s selections and pointless like-for-like substitutions frustrate me.
The Chelsea man is not the first player that Domenech has fallen out with as his club and national team-mate Florent Malouda has also had a bust-up with the coach. Also, France captain Patrice Evra has openly criticised the regime and has claimed there is a traitor (my money is on Yoann Gourcuff) in the camp. The actions of the Manchester United left-back has obviously upset Domenech as he omitted him from the starting line-up against South Africa.
I don’t think that Chelsea’s number 39 can be blamed for allowing his emotions boil over as what was probably his last chance (at 31) to play in the World Cup has passed him by, without scoring a single goal.
The situation has descended into chaos as the squad refused to train on Sunday and Domenech almost looked like a hostage as he read out the players’ statement following the events.
The statement read:
“The French Football Federation did not at any time try to protect the group. They took a decision uniquely based on facts reported by the press. As a consequence and to show our opposition to the decision taken by officials of the federation, all the players decided not to take part in today’s training session.”
Even the team director Jean-Louis Valentin couldn’t take it anymore and resigned from his post.
So between The French Football Federation (FFF), the coach, staff and the players there are deep rooted problems. Anelka has been made a scapegoat, perhaps similarly to how John Terry has been left out to dry after he openly spoke about a discussion he had with senior players about Fabio Capello’s approach and tactics.
However, Anelka does have a history of stropping which earned him the nickname Le Sulk and falling out with people hopping from club to club (nine in total during his career). But his club manager Ancelotti has got the best out of him as he has transformed into a team player and describes him at a great professional.
England and Italy also have problems with in their camp, but our problems are nothing compared to our Gallic counterparts.
Hopefully with Domenech leaving his post at the end of the season the truth will come out and many will wait with intrigue to hear what the likes of Anelka, Evra and the coach would have to say.
What do the fans think? Can Anelka be blamed for blowing a fuse?