Anelka: Misunderstood (2020) - full transcript

Bad boy of the French football, arrogant, precocious, misunderstood, scorer, unclassifiable, genius, unmanageable. Despite a having a career of almost 20 years at the highest level, Nicolas Anelka is still hard to define.


All that I've done, don't do it.

You'll only make enemies.

Will you overcome hardship? I don't know.

Are you mentally tough? I don't know.

You want to be like me?
There's no point. You're not me.

If you really want to be like me
and do what I've done...

be prepared.

I think if Nico made a film,

it would have
more parts than Harry Potter.

Or it could be like Star Wars.

The end is the beginning,
but the beginning isn't really the end.

He scored again!

Anelka has made it through!

Well... the Che.

-The Che.
-The Che.

He's a guy with integrity.
He's got your back. He's reliable.

This is the 17-year-old
shaking up football.

I think Nicolas Anelka is almost
the forgotten footballer.

Nico is someone who stands out.
You love him or you hate him.

Nico is no angel
when he doesn't want to be an angel.

An unsporting gesture from Anelka.

He made clear that

"he'll have to get down on his knees
for me to play for France again."

Nico doesn't know
how to be politically correct.

Nicolas Anelka expelled
from the France team.

If the events are true,

they are unacceptable.

When you know him
and he gets accused of all that,

it's just so infuriating

because he's the exact opposite
of what they say he is.

The Champions League? Here it is.

Nico is like a big brother.
He's always guided me.

It's all the excesses of our society:
money, individualism...

For me, we're talking about one
of the greatest strikers in history.

He's done well here. Got away...

-Oh, my word!
-What a goal that is!

Nico, fuck...


You OK, son?

It's time.

It's time to go to school.

It's time...

Well done!

Well done.

Kais, it's time.

It's time.


I never said I was retiring...

because who cares.

It's not important.

It's been 20 years of football. It's time.

There you go!

I had the opportunity to continue playing,

but it would have meant
being far from my family again.

It got to a point where I thought:
"No, I'm happy like this.

Life is good.
My family is here, so are my children.

I want to see them grow up
and have a quiet life."

Nico had always said to me:
"The day I stop playing,

I'd like us to go and live in Dubai
because I feel good there.

It's sunny. The people are cool."

We love spending time
at home with the children,

as a family.

There you go, son.

-It's time.
-Let's go.

It's at the end of your career
that you realise what you've done.

Either you're proud or you think:

"I've acted like a victim,
like a sheep for 20 years."

Which I didn't necessarily want to think.

Or do.

My parents worked in the public sector.

My mother worked
at Rambouillet High School.

My father worked at the Versailles LEA.

We weren't hard up,
but we weren't well off either, so...

my parents had to work hard.

Honestly, I had a wonderful childhood.

I'm proud to be from the banlieue.

We spent all our time together.
Outside, inside.

There was school, too. Films, music.
There were the football games.

We were really close.

I'd pick him up and we'd go to school
together since he was in my class.

Here's the green.

This is the green.

It was just a stretch of grass
where there was always a game.

Our own Parc des Princes.

I even remember nights
when the green was frozen.

We'd be like: "That's enough.
We're going home."

You just couldn't play on it.
But he kept going. He wanted to play.

Everyone played on the green.
Big kids, little kids.

And Nico played with them all.


I started playing when I was eight.

I was with Karim and Sami.

They'd go home and I'd tell them
I didn't want to be just a footballer.

I wanted to be a star.

It was crazy. It was too much.

He'd even dress up
as a footballer for carnival.

You know what I mean?

I'd be like: "Bro, you need to come up
with another costume." No. Footballer.

I couldn't turn up as Zorro, so...

I played football because I wanted
to be like my big brother, Claude.

He was my role model: I followed his lead

and I really wanted to do
what he was doing at his age.

I don't know if his love
of football came from me,


what I wanted to do was
help him to progress,

to evolve as a player,
to become a great player.

He really wanted it, he had talent,
but he didn't get the break that I did

with the try-outs at Clairefontaine.

I left home at the age of 13.

You're ten now, almost 11.

So, imagine, in two and a half years,

you leave home,
you don't sleep here anymore.

I left for Clairefontaine.

-Who did you live with?
-I lived in a...

It was like a training centre.

There was this building
with a bunch of 13-year-olds,

and we lived together.

The INF is the best of the best.

Back then, the INF was
the number-one football academy.

There are maybe 500 guys who want
to get into this football academy.

If you're one of the 23 who do,
it means you have talent.

Come on!

They put 20 kids in there.

They tell them they're going
to become professional footballers.

Except that out of those 20,
only one or two or three will make it.

So, it's like a job market.

When you're at a training centre,
it's war.

It's ruthless, you've got to beat
your mates who are after the same thing.

If you're not ready for that
when you're 14, 15, 16...

then you can't...
no, I don't think you can make it.

Go for it!

Go help him...


I was starting my second year,
he was starting his first.

When you're in the cafeteria, people talk.

"That kid in first year, he's good!"

Nico was so advanced
I didn't see him as a little brother,

and I don't think he saw me
as a big brother.

We just tried to compete with each other.

For me, he was the most talented.

The most talented. He had a gift.

But, careful...

You've got to be up to it,
which is also hard when you're 13.

What struck me were
the transformations, actually.

Every time we saw him again,

we saw him grow up
and turn into a top athlete.

AT 16,

While playing for the reserve team,
I joined the pro squad.

I wasn't a pro,
but I often trained with the pros

who, at the time,
included George Weah, Ginola,

Bravo, Bernard Lama...
The legendary PSG team.

He landed in a club that had won
the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

Often, young players like him are sent out
to toughen up a bit in second-rate clubs,

but he very quickly joined
one of the best clubs in Europe.

I didn't know that type of football,
so I had to learn on the job.

I got a lot of support
from Samir Amirèche.

He trained with the pros
like he would with his mates at home.

He was relaxed, but he had a gift
for running with the ball.

When you play with the pros,
you go for it.

It's stimulating. Everyone's psyched.

The guys are aged 23 to 27,
so you're playing against old-timers.

If you want to succeed,

you can't think
that people are better than you.

Sometimes, I hear kids saying:
"Yeah, he's just so amazing!"

They're crazy.
They'll never make it, talking like that.

I would never say:
"That guy is better than me."

Even if he is. It's just impossible.

With 20 minutes to go,

Anelka is sent in to replace Loko.

Why focus on him?

Because PSG says
he's the star of tomorrow.

It's a lot of pressure. As a pro,
you know everyone's watching you.

Your mates are watching you.

Today, my kid is 16.

Nico was the same age
when he lit up the Parc des Princes.

We were so proud.


As he found his feet at PSG,
I watched in admiration.

I saw this guy who was sharp, fast, agile.

What struck me was realising my mate
was good enough to play at that level.

He was playing with the greats...
and he was good enough.

A player like him,

who bursts onto the scene
and has that maturity so young...

The football world is obviously
going to be talking about him.

I sent my recruiters to watch him play.

He was one of those players who flit
between the juniors and the pros.

He perhaps felt a little underappreciated.

He was disappointed.

I brought him in and I asked him:

"You want to come to Arsenal?"
He replied: "Yes."

Football and the Anelka affair.

This is the 17-year-old
shaking up French football.

He has just signed
with the English club Arsenal.

Without realising, Anelka has landed
in a serious legal battle.

Under French regulations,
the 17-year-old apprentice

has to sign his first contract
with the club that trained him, PSG,

but the player's entourage and Arsenal
contend that the Bosman ruling

and the free movement of players in Europe

exempt them from that obligation.

We were a bit worried because
we were the first to...

let's say, defy the French
football system.

French football is sticking together.
Its entire training policy is at stake.

The case is being resolved
by the League and the UEFA,

so there won't be another Anelka affair.

We've got to resolve this quickly
and find the legislative means

to keep junior players
until they're at least 22 or 23.

Paris wouldn't let him play.

He said: "I deserve to play.
I have the skills."

He was the first player

to stick two fingers up at PSG.


It's all anyone was talking about.

The star who embodied
the PSG training programme

was slamming the door.

He symbolised the Bosman ruling.

The free movement
of players and individuals.

He paved the way
for youngsters at training centres.

So, yes, they made him pay for it
because he was the first to say:

"I do what I want
and I play by European rules."

In my mind, I'm already at Arsenal.
I just signed there.

I really wanted to leave PSG.
There's no doubt about it.


Only geniuses have true self-belief.

It's like painting.
Van Gogh, people like that.

If a genius doesn't have self-belief,
he can't express his art.

So, obviously, that takes the form
of an attitude that can seem haughty

because you're imposing your art.

People like Thierry Henry, like him,
they were never satisfied with themselves.

It also shows strength of character
to be like: "OK, you're leaving me out?

Here's what I'm going to do.
I'm capable of leaving for England.

I'm young, but I'm not scared."

I was going to be on an equal footing
with the other strikers...

so I went for it.


After more than a month of talks,
Nicolas Anelka, 17,

was transferred last night
to the English club Arsenal.

I remember taking the Eurostar.

It wasn't easy, it was...

But it was a choice I'd made
and I had to own it.

I'd made that choice to go to England
and I couldn't turn back.

When he arrived at Arsenal,

he was with a very charismatic
group of players,

whether it was the old-school like
Ian Wright, Ray Parlour and Tony Adams.

This is the Arsenal, this is

one of the, you know, the founding,
driving forces of the game,

woven into the tapestry
of English football,

with fans who are just totally passionate,
who live all around the ground,

who live all over the world.

It wasn't easy for him at first
because he was a true Parisian kid

who, overnight, was thrown
into a very English environment.

Everything was new:
my teammates, the language...

Fortunately, there was Pat.

Pat Vieira.

He didn't have his driver's licence yet,
so I used to pick him up.

We'd go to training together.
Afterwards, I'd drop him back home.

I tried to get closer to him

because when you leave France
to go and play in a foreign country,

you lose your bearings.

It's very different to French football:
a lot of impact, a lot of contact.

And so, I had to adapt.
I had to change my game a bit.

I wasn't combat-ready...

so I had to learn the ropes
with the reserve team.

He arrived thinking he was a great player,

as youngsters often do.

But, in my eyes,
he lacked maturity and physically...

He lost the ball too much.
He was a little reckless in his game.

The first few months, I didn't play.
Just 10-15 minutes in a few games.

It wasn't great.

It makes you doubt.
You wonder if you made the right call.


Then came the last game
of the championship,

an away game against Derby County.

Everyone was on the bus.
No Nicolas Anelka.

The coach was waiting for me.
He came to get me.

I knocked on the door. He let me in...

and I saw he was packing his bags!

I asked, "What are you doing?"

-He said...
-I don't want to come.

The coach talked to me and said:
"Make an effort and it will pay off."

And after 20 minutes, half an hour...

I managed to convince him.

The game started.

After five or ten minutes of play,
I think Paul Merson got injured.

The coach looked back and said to me:
"Go ahead, you're on."


And I set up two goals.

Oh, lovely little touch. Ball through...

And that's gonna be number three!

He played a fantastic game!

I was Man of the Match.

We won the game,

he had a shower and,
unlike the day before, he was smiling.

It just clicked.

As a striker, you need that,
even if you're mentally tough.

You need to feel your coach
will be there for you.

In tough times, he'll be there
and he'll put you back on,

even if your last game was average.

Arsène was there for me
and I could feel it.

Just knowing that, you give it your all
and generally you succeed

because, mentally, it changes things.


Oh, what a goal!

Nicolas Anelka's first for the club!

Anelka against Jaap Stam...

Still Anelka! Three-nil!

He was replacing Ian Wright,

who is embedded not simply
in the fabric of Arsenal football club,

but in the hearts of every Arsenal fan.

Anelka... Oh, that's a great goal!

We were 13 points
behind Manchester United.

No one thought we could claw it back.

Petit... Batty trying to stem the flow...

This is Nicolas Anelka and he's done it!

He absolutely transformed
in the space of six months.

It was at Blackburn.

He reached the goalkeeper,

did his signature fake shot
where he almost bends his knee.

Then he did a step over
and the goalkeeper was stunned.

Like he was invisible.

He's like a cat.

He's a guy who had
both strength and flexibility.

It's still Anelka.

I'll always remember
the game against Manchester.

Arsenal arrive here with a record
of just one defeat in 18 games

in all competitions.

The game was close.
We absolutely had to win.

I diverted the ball to Marc Overmars.

Oh, it's Overmars!

He's done it this time!

We won 1-0 against Manchester...
at Manchester.

The championship race
still very much open.

The situation ended
driving Arsenal back into it

against a very good Manchester United side

purely because of his self-belief,
because he just didn't feel pressure.

The crowning game was at Highbury.

And it's Adams!

Tony Adams scored the decisive goal.

Would you believe it?

Final whistle!

Arsenal are the champions!

It was something special.

But the truth is, when you're 19,
you don't realise that.

You don't realise what you're doing.

The classic double is to win the League
and to win the Cup.

For an English fan, for an English player,

for anyone growing up
with any understanding of English sport,

that is the bar,
that is absolutely the pinnacle.



Anelka... Onside...

Anelka's away... Good strike!

We were the champions.
I scored in the Cup Final.

It was the ultimate dream.

I felt I had every chance
of playing in the World Cup.

Six too many.
We were expecting 22 players.

Aimé Jacquet has published
a list of 28 names

for the World Cup in early June,
which he's going to have to cut down.




We knew that some players
wouldn't make the squad

because Aimé had announced it.

He'd selected six extra players,

but was going to have
to present a final list.

Yesterday was a long day for Jacquet.

Late afternoon, after training,
he paced up and down the pitch alone.

Well, almost, as facing him were
20-odd players waiting for his decision.

It's great to be
on the France team aged 19,

but I'd be disappointed to miss out
on a big event like the World Cup.

It was an honour to wear
the France jersey, yes.

But there was always a "but".

I could feel something wasn't quite right.

That day, I was in my room with Thierry.

The phone rang
and they asked me to come down.

I went downstairs
and headed to the coach's room.

I think I was the second or third
to show up. We were in a line.

And he explained to each player why.

Why he hadn't been called up,

why he wouldn't be part
of the World Cup adventure.

And when he got to me,
he just said: "You, it's normal."

"You, it's normal."

And he moved on.

Of course, decisions are hard.
They can even be cruel.

But we live in a cruel world.

I don't know if those guys realise
what it actually means

or the effect it can have on a youngster
to say: "You, it's normal"

with no explanation.

If you're mentally weak,
it could kill your career.

At Clairefontaine,
we were playing at the ping-pong table,

and we saw Nico come down
the stairs opposite with his bags.

He was totally relaxed and cool.

He was like: "No biggie. I have time
to get my driver's license now."

And I just thought to myself:
"This guy is crazy!"

His reaction stunned me.

That's when I thought: "Nico Anelka
is totally different to the others,

and especially, different to me."

I saw them leave. Some were crying,
tears in their eyes.

Just imagine, a month and a half later,
we were on top of the world

and they were watching TV, thinking:

"I probably missed
the most important day of my life".

France are world champions!

A historic night...

"Historic" is indeed
the most understated term to sum up

what's been happening
since last night in France.

Zidane! Zidane!


More than a million people
gathered in Paris.

A true moment of madness
for an ecstatic nation.

It makes you stronger
because you see it as an injustice...

so you know you have to overcome it.

You have to work twice as hard
to make a comeback

because you don't change a winning team.



Lilian Thuram crosses the halfway line.
Passes to Zidane.

Zidane controls the ball,
passes to Anelka... Anelka! Goal!

Nicolas Anelka, the Arsenal player,
opens the score!

Nicolas Anelka becomes the first Frenchman

to score against England at Wembley.

Dugarry to Zidane. Zidane to Dugarry.
Dugarry in the penalty area.

Christophe Dugarry crosses forward,
and second goal!

Second goal by Nicolas Anelka
here at Wembley. France lead 2-0.

It's historic. It's doubly historic!

Very good. Perfect.

I think he's very talented,
as shown tonight.

Long may it continue
for France and for him.

All of a sudden, this player showed up

and made a connection
in the game with Zidane,

God on Earth, so we all thought: "Wow!

We're on our way
to five or six more years of triumph."


I would have preferred to be part
of the team that won the World Cup,

but that's just life.

It's something
you have to overcome, and I did.


What I did in my life
and what I did in football...

it's all well and good,
but the most important thing is family.

-Which one is it?
-Which one is what?

I'm lucky to have had parents
who brought me up well,

so I'm trying to do the same,

to reproduce what I experienced
with my own children.

Let's see if there's a pitch.

They haven't seen me play much.

I didn't take them to games very often.
I didn't want to force them.

Watch. Like this... Tack.

That's it! Again.

I didn't want them to be footballers
because it's a tough job

and you've got to have talent.

They both play football.
Kais, a little more seriously.

Kahil, more for fun.

He loves taking them to practice,
waiting for them, going to games...

Learn some technical moves.
I didn't see any at training.


You play like you train.

If you're rubbish in training,
you'll be rubbish in the game.

That's how it is.

If you don't work outside of training,
if you don't do anything extra...

you'll be rubbish, you'll be no good.

That's all.

Don't tell me: "I wanna be a footballer."
Footballers are real players.

It's a real job.


Anelka has expressed his desire
to leave the Premier League.

In today's sports news, French striker
Anelka's transfer to Real Madrid.

He was approached by Real Madrid.

Juventus were also very interested.

After two and a half years,
Arsenal didn't want to sell me.

I'd scored a certain number of goals.

But it was time for me
to join a better club.

Lazio in Rome have offered
200 million francs

and Juventus in Torino, 300.

But talks have collapsed.

Anelka's entourage seem
to have been too greedy.

He got a lot of criticism for taking
the advice of his brothers.

I don't know what they were like.

I don't know whether they were motivated
by materialistic things

or whether they said to him:
"What is best for your development?"

My brother could manage my finances,
since he was an accounting professor.

And my other brother played for PFC,
which was in Third Division at the time.

So, why ask someone else,
a stranger, to handle my career?

It's funny, when you come
from the banlieue or the streets,

they call it a clan, maybe even a sect.

But when it's people who don't come
from the streets, it's "family".

Why a "clan"?

Maybe because,
when Nicolas wanted to leave PSG,

we pushed hard for it,
so people talked about a clan.

Clans are closed and tough.

But it's also what made us stronger.

They symbolised what the football
business was going to become.

The Anelkas were like
a little family-run grocery business,

surrounded by big supermarkets
gorging themselves on money.

People said his brothers
were manipulating him.

But from the age of 20,
Anelka was making his own decisions.

He decided to leave for England
because he wasn't playing in Paris.

He decided to leave Arsenal
when his brothers asked him to stay.

Real Madrid are one
of the best clubs in the world,

and when they come after you,
you don't go for the money.

It's because, with their seven or eight
Champions League titles at the time,

they were number one.

-Be careful!

Come on.

Madrid was madness.
A lot of press, a lot of fans.

Be careful.

Come on.

It's Real Madrid's
most expensive transfer.

We hope in this way to secure
the club's footballing future.

At 220 million francs,
it was the biggest transfer of all time.

It was Mbappé and Neymar combined.

I didn't expect there to be
this many people here for me.

But I'm very happy
to be welcomed like this.

I understood what it meant
to be a star when I joined Real Madrid.

And I hated it.

Anelka had his first training session
and met his new teammates.

The player stirred up passion
in a packed Ciudad Deportiva.

After the press conference,
I went to the locker room.

I got there first, sat down,
but players kept coming up to me

and saying: "That's my spot."
"Oh, sorry. Can I sit here?"

"Yeah, go ahead, sit there."

Then another player would come up:
"That's my spot." Maybe 20 times.

He barely got anyone to lend him
any kit for his first training session.

Imagine Neymar showing up at PSG
and his kit not being there.

It was dog eat dog.

I just thought: "What am I doing here?

This is going to be hostile."

What I experienced that day was
the beginning of a nightmare.

One of today's top stories...

Everyone is eager to see Anelka's debut.

For football's sake,
he'd better not disappoint.

It was a lot of pressure,
right from the start.

I could tell because,
in the Spanish press, in MARCA,

every day, I saw my name or a photo of me.

An unmemorable debut
for La Liga's most expensive player.

Eighteen goals for Arsenal last year,
and nothing yet in La Liga.

On the pitch, things weren't great.

Because I couldn't have a private life.
I couldn't do anything.

You're 20, you can't go outside.

Everything you do is commented on.

Everything you buy is
in the newspapers the next day.

We had to secure his home
as journalists could film from outside.

It was horrible. For everyone.

He would lock himself in.

Even we were like...
curtains drawn all day.

It was just unbearable.

I even had a panic attack,
which I'd never had before.

Screaming, shouting like a maniac.

At one point, I even thought
he was going to quit football.



When you get to Real Madrid,
they expect a lot of you.

In the press, they ask you to open up.
But I wasn't open.

Maybe that's something
that carried a lot of weight

because I pretty much
wasn't accepted on the team.

I was very average on the pitch.

The press wasn't on my side.


I was invited to the MARCA offices.

I went to give them something
because I didn't usually talk to them.

For the photo, the journalist asked him:
"Will you play a FIFA game?"

I played and I scored on the console.
Against Atlético, I think.

The next day's headline was:
"Anelka finally scores a goal...

on the console."


It was a press trap.
I just didn't get it, back then.

Looking back... I messed up,

but I didn't think they'd be that vicious.

After that, I thought:
"OK, cool. This is how it is.

I was going to give you something
when I don't usually give anything.

I took a step in your direction,
and you slapped me in the face.

No problem. You won't get anything."




Going to Brazil for the Club World Cup,

far from all that pressure
and all the media,

practically incognito,
gave me a new lease of life.

In a country like Brazil,

being co-best striker
with a football legend like Romário...

I'll take that.

When you're number nine,
you need competition.

You need people to trust you... order to give your best.


This week,
it's the Barça-Real Madrid match.

An event always described
as the match of all matches.

Morientes now. Madrid could score...

-Goal. Goal from Anelka.
-Goal from Anelka!

I scored, so I was really happy.

Goal for Real Madrid. A really
important goal for the club in white!

In the next game, I was average.

After that, they benched me.

So, one day, I turned up to training
and said: "We've got to talk."

They said: "We'll talk after training."

I said: "No, we'll talk before training."

They insisted:
"No, we'll talk after training."

The way they reacted... I took it badly.

I thought: "You have a bad attitude.
Now it's my turn to have a bad attitude."

I went to war when,
in truth, I just wanted to talk.

I was stuck in this banlieue mentality
and I was far from docile.

OK. Clash.

An astonishing statement
from Madrid player Nicolas Anelka.

The French player, without warning...

...refused to train with his teammates.

I skipped training and got called in
by one of the Real Madrid presidents.

We talked and he said:
"You'd better be at training tomorrow."

I replied:
"We'll see about that tomorrow."

He refused to train yesterday.

He was supposed to be
at Ciudad Deportiva at 11 a.m. today.

Instead, he gave
an interview to French television

and played football in his garden,
as you can see here.

Lorenzo Sanz and Real Madrid
are facing a serious problem.

Once again, they put it all on me,
when all I wanted, all I was asking for,

was for them to leave me alone
and let me focus on my football,

to try and prove that I was talented
and that I could play for Real Madrid.

Every time there was a power struggle,
Nicolas was inevitably on the wrong side.

He went on strike.

He said: "No, I'm not training.
I want you to explain."

But instead of explaining, they said:
"We'll talk after training."

Which prompted his famous quote:
"I'd rather go and sell TVs at Currys."

I admire him for that.

The person he is, before the athlete.

There's this thing he used to repeat
a lot that made me laugh:

"I'm a guy from Trappes."



It's been a while since I saw Paris.

I'm happy to be back.

I'm going to see my family and friends,
have a bit of fun.

He's a decent guy.



He shows true loyalty.

He can be excessive at times
because he's impulsive,

like all guys who bottle up
what's troubling them.

And when they blow up,
they often go further than they mean to.

As a result, they often get pigeonholed.


Going back to training was really tough
because the players were against me.

A lot of them were out to get me
on the pitch, but I came from England.

I knew all about physical combat.

There were little fights
and duels out on the pitch,

but everything fell back
into place after that.


A big Champions League game tonight.
Bayern Munich will face Real Madrid.

Semifinals are special
because everyone watches.

You can change everything,
reverse the tide.

The ball into Anelka,
he's in the right place

and Real Madrid has scored!

Huge satisfaction because I was also
selected for the Champions League.

He was decisive against Bayern,
in the first and second legs,

and in horrible conditions because,
two months earlier,

everyone at Real Madrid had him
on the bench.






Welcome to the Spanish football party
in Paris!

The Champions League final!

Nicolas Anelka with the ball...

Anelka again passing behind...

The ball for Michel
and now Morientes! Goal!

It's almost over.
Real Madrid will be European champions!

The 24th May 2000!

A historic day for Madrid.
That's it! It's over!

Nicolas Anelka, whose name
was chanted by Real Madrid socios

as he walked off the pitch
and during the cup ceremony...

Now we can truly say
that Madrid holds "La Octava"!

I helped Real Madrid win
their eighth Champions League.

I'm proud of that.

Given that it was hardly
a piece of cake to begin with,

beyond the whole football
side of things, it was personal.

It was a very sweet revenge.

I didn't do much.
I did very little at Real Madrid.

I would have liked to do much more,
but I didn't get the chance.

I also wasn't good. A lot happened.

A lot of regret.

With hindsight,
if you want to play for Real Madrid,

sacrifices need to be made,
but I was too young to understand.

There are things
I shouldn't have said or done.

But when you're the first to do something,

you don't know.

It was very early in my career.
Maybe too early.

I didn't appreciate that moment
for what it was really worth.

I didn't know it was the only one
I'd win, for example.

I think it's at 30
that you get the measure of it.

You understand
what the Champions League is.

You know it's difficult
and everyone wants to win it.

You enjoy it very differently
to when you're 20.

I don't know what this is.

But I do know what this is.

It's a little rusty, but...


The Champions League? Here it is.

Real Madrid. 2000-2001, I think.

Well done.

No, it was 1999-2000.


-Yeah. Yeah, it's...

And I won it in 2002-2004.

Two years in a row.



I'd just won the Champions League.

I was happy to be back
on the France squad.

In 1998, we won at home.
We were world champions.

It's great to win a World Cup at home,
but you've got to follow through.

And there were those two youngsters
from the Paris banlieue

and Clairefontaine playing as forwards
with the France team.

And the ball went to Anelka here
who'll check and turn...

And it's an equaliser scored
by Thierry Henry!

I arrived in average shape.

I didn't really have the stamina
to play game after game.

He played a lot of games,
but not the final,

and people remember Pirès and Wiltord,
who at the time were substitutes.


at the European Championships final.

France takes on Italy.

Double contact. Pirès passes
to Trezeguet who strikes!



Golden goal!


For me, the Euro 2000 is the pinnacle.

I don't want to be arrogant,
but we were unbeatable.

It feels good when you play well.

When you're rubbish
or you don't play great...

I'm a footballer.

I wasn't there to have fun.

I was there to perform on the pitch.
And I didn't.

Yes, I took part,
but I didn't contribute anything.

If I could remove that title
from my awards, I would. No doubt.

Winning at all costs has no meaning
for him. It's how you win.

He's not capable of pretending
he's happy if he's not.

He is who he is. He's himself.
And I'm the exact opposite.

I can give you a big smile
even if I'm sad.

I met him fairly young, yes. He was 19.

I'm older than him. I was 21.

We were young. He was into his football
and I was into my dancing.

It was back when there was
the big Arsenal-Madrid transfer,

so for me it was a little...

I didn't really know what was going on.

When I went to visit him,
there were loads of journalists outside.

We've been together
for more than ten years.

It's important to be partners
and friends with your wife.

If you want to spend pretty much
your whole life with her,

if you don't have that bond
of friendship and love,

it won't work.

I think that's the foundation
of any relationship.


Nice one! It's ours. Yes!

We know he doesn't know
how to return the ball.

Go for him. That's his weak point.

Place your foot like this.

Go for it.

Well done. That's it!

I never imagined this.

I'm moving forward, we have a family,

a family life and children
who are growing up...

Nice one!

Leave it!

And, yeah, we've grown up.

Children are something special.

They change your life.
You don't live for yourself anymore.

You live for them.

Can I get a kiss?

A sandy kiss?

Being able to tell them "I love you"
every day is dope

because I don't want them to forget that.

I want them to be able to tell me
"I love you, too" when they grow up.

-You OK?

Because with my own parents,
for example, I had...

We have a lot of trouble
saying "I love you" to each other,

with my father and mother, you know, so...

I just wanted to...

I think it, but it's hard to express it.

It's complicated.

Maybe it's something I've lacked
since I was little.


precisely because of that,
I wanted to do things...


I wanted to show my children
what I felt and what I thought

so that they won't be ashamed
or hold back from telling me.

And I hope that when they, hopefully,
have children of their own,

they'll do the same because it's beautiful
when you can tell your child...

that you love them
and they say, "I love you, too."

There's nothing more beautiful.





Nicolas Anelka triumphs
in the British media

following his arrival at Liverpool.

Liverpool, a historic club,
the city of the Beatles...

It might not be the most beautiful city,
but it exudes a unique atmosphere.

And the coach was French, too,
Gérard Houllier.

Heskey lets it run to Murphy...


Liverpool are level!

He got to Liverpool: "Shit, Doug,
I've found what I've been looking for."

Everything was perfect:
the city, the spirit...

The fans were really happy with me,
and I was really happy to be there.

Nicolas Anelka! Yes!

English football is wonderful.
It's made for me. It made me feel alive.

Michael Owen...
looking for Anelka again...

You could feel it in my game.
I could lead a normal life.

Number five!

It was the perfect club for me.
It could have helped me bounce back.

Anelka has his first League goal...

But at the end of the season...

nothing happened.

No opportunity to sign with Liverpool.

I was playing good games,
so there were teams interested in me.

Another disappointment for Nicolas Anelka.

Liverpool manager, Gérard Houllier,

has decided not to keep
Nicolas Anelka next season.

I didn't like that, whilst at Liverpool
with a purchase option to play with us,

his brothers tried
to contact other clubs to sell him.

I didn't appreciate that.
I didn't think it was fair play.

That open door, it was for you.
It was for Liverpool.

And I said it time and again
that I wanted to sign with Liverpool.

I waited, but nothing happened.

Liverpool fans think
I didn't want to stay, but no.

That wasn't the case.
They need to know I really did.

And that's why, for me,
it was quite a tragic episode

because, honestly,

it's a club where I think
I could have achieved many things.

Many great things.

Things went wrong, but for reasons
that had nothing to do with football.

It was more about cultural differences.

Nico is a man of contradictions.

His reserve can make him seem cold.

Some interpret it as arrogance.

He's very resilient,
with an extremely strong personality,

especially when it comes to imposing
or asserting his own opinions.

It can go against collective thinking
or even a certain hierarchy.


In football news, Nicolas Anelka's
ratings just keep dropping.

PSG are in talks with two Manchester clubs

for a transfer estimated
at less than 20 million euros.

Despite my good results
and performance with Liverpool,

no one was interested,
the doors were closed.

I signed at Manchester City,
and thought: "You're here.

No one else wanted you.

Just go for it."

Fowler... Wright-Phillips...
Nicolas Anelka!

Manchester City have won it!

Rejected by Gérard Houllier,
this is Nicolas Anelka's response!

I scored goals, I was good,
I got to know Kevin Keegan, the coach,

whom I had a good relationship with,
I made progress.

In a team with players that aren't
as good, you have to score.

You have to do something
for people to see you and say:

"He doesn't belong in that team."

Nicolas Anelka's problem

is that of all youngsters
who succeed at a young age.

When you're a star
at 18, 19, 20 years old,

you can be satisfied with too little.

Maybe he was also in environments
that discouraged him.

That said, he had a great career.
Let's be fair.

But if you were to ask me,
deep in my heart:

"Do you think there was more to him
than that?" Yes. Without a doubt.




Once again, there was just so much drama.

At the time,
Jacques Santini came to see me

at a game against United, the derby.

I played a great game. I scored.
We won 3-1, I think.

...for Manchester City,
it comes out to Anelka!

Jacques Santini came to see me
in the locker room and said:

"If I don't select you for the next team,
it's because I don't know you."

Man, don't come and see me, then.

If you don't know me, I've played at PSG,
I've played at Arsenal,

I've played at Real Madrid,
I've played at Liverpool...

You're telling me you don't know me?

No. You have no right to come
and tell me that. So, I took it badly.

I made it clear, when he called me back,
that he should leave me alone.

Nicolas Anelka has rejected a call-up
to the France team.

Jacques Santini called him back
to play against Yugoslavia

on Wednesday at the Stade de France,

but the Manchester City player feels
that his selection was a little forced.

He made clear that

"he'll have to get down on his knees
for me to play for France again."

He has mortgaged his future
on the France team.

If he thinks we don't trust him,
starting with me,

then Nicolas Anelka has made
a decision that, if confirmed,

concerns only him,
and not his teammates or the manager.

When everyone was waiting
for a refutation or an apology,

he stayed quiet.

Because he's tough and he stays on course.

When he sets out to do something,
he does it.

And people don't understand that.

Nicolas Anelka is viewed
by most as a player

who gets into trouble with his coaches.

He's a man of controversy.

And the biggest scandal of his career
happened while he was playing in England

for a mid-table club:
West Bromwich Albion.


I was back with a coach I knew:
Steve Clarke.

He was cool when I was with him
at Chelsea, so I thought: "Why not?"

The first game arrived.

We were eagerly awaited.
It was a home game.

It was 0-0 and after 70 minutes,

Steve Clarke took me out.

I was kind of the star of the team.

I scored all the goals in the preseason.

Taking me out like that was
a way of showing the public

that it was 0-0 because
the striker hadn't done anything.

It shows a lack of respect
and a lack of trust.

When you're 34 and the coach does this
to you in the very first game...

I just stopped talking to him.

I thought: "If you're going to play
that game, no problem."

He didn't use me.

What happened is what always happens.

You play the wise guy,
but sometimes you get burned.

Five games, five defeats.


I was back on the team, and my first game
after Clarke left... I scored.

So, I did that celebration.

People don't know this because I never
wanted to talk about Steve Clarke,

but when I did the quenelle,
it was for him.

"You didn't use me when you were here.

As soon as you left, look:
I played and I scored.

Take that.

Shove it where the sun doesn't shine."

During the game, the footballer
made the famous quenelle gesture,

popularised by Dieudonné.

A gesture of defiance?

A gesture linked to the Nazis?

An anti-Semitic gesture?

I lived in Birmingham.
I didn't have French TV.

I had the internet,
but I didn't really notice.

I wasn't aware of what was going on.

Dieudonné is anti-Semitic.
François Hollande has no doubt about it.

He supports Manuel Valls.

The Interior Minister wants
to ban the comedian's shows.


A few French journalists I follow said:
"He's just done the quenelle."

And West Brom picked up on it.

Their PR people realised
it was going to be a huge issue.

Before this weekend, the British
had never heard of Dieudonné

or the quenelle.

The affair is nonetheless
making headlines,

with one word recurring
again and again: "shocking".

When I was accused
of making an anti-Semitic gesture,

I denied it because it wasn't the case.

For me, it was anything but.

So, I was surprised...

but it's good to call people out.

OK, so be it.

Prove it to me.

This was a time in English football
when the Football Association

were having to deal with a lot of issues,
on-the-pitch issues,

racial abuse between players.

The FA had to take action.

Sanctions were imposed
on Nicolas Anelka yesterday,

a five-match suspension
and a 100,000-euro fine,

by the English Football Association.

We had two days of hearings.

The verdict:
I am not anti-Semitic, but the gesture is.

And I was punished
with a five-game ban and a fine.

We all know why.
Because there had to be sanctions.

But the reality is that I wasn't guilty.

Not a single prior incident
with Jewish people.

Why would I think
about Jewish people after a goal?


It's a bit exaggerated to charge him.

It's not as if it was made
in front of a synagogue

or in front of a memorial
concerning the Holocaust.

They said it themselves.
I am not anti-Semitic.

So, if I'm not anti-Semitic,
that's it, case closed.

I've always lived my life at full speed.
I give everything 200%.

I like to be told the truth,
and I didn't get that in this profession.

I preferred to stick with my own.

There aren't many of us,
but at least you know who's who.

This is my beach.

My grandma lived 100 metres away.

We used to come down here
to have fun, to dive...

We'd have a kickabout here.

We were from Paris.
There's no beach there.

It was always really special
to come back here,

to see all our cousins and family,
to have the ocean on our doorstep.

It's unoccupied these days.

This was the kitchen.

The stove is still here.

She would prepare meals here.

This was my grandma's house.

Every time I came back to Martinique,
this is where I came.

We experienced extraordinary things.
And by "we", I mean my family.

My brothers, my parents
and all the cousins who came here.

Things we won't forget or can't explain.

I felt good vibes with my kids,
so honestly, I was chuffed

because I figured they got an idea
of what I experienced 20 or 30 years ago.

I needed them to understand
and feel what I experienced.

And they're West Indian, too.

Called up once again
after three years of absence,

the Trappes player says he's honoured
to play for France again.

It's a fabulous story: Raymond Domenech,
who'd been manager for a year,

called him up in November 2005
for a highly symbolic game in Martinique.

Against Costa Rica.

It was historic because France
had never played in the West Indies.

Obviously, my parents were there,
so the pressure was on.

The pressure was on because
West Indians can be harsh, critical.

I had to do well.

I wasn't expecting that at all.

-Not at all.
-Oh, yeah. It's true.

We thought it was all over
because even I thought:

"With all the problems and disappointments
he's had since the beginning...

-And all his statements.
-...they'll never take him back."

Vieira recovers the ball...

Thierry Henry is onside,
passes to Anelka and goal!

France equalise!

Anelka scores a goal for his return
three and a half years later.

It was great. I hadn't played
for France in a long time.

To be back in the West Indies,
to score and to see all my family...

it was special.

People felt
that Nicolas Anelka had scored points,

that he'd probably earned his spot
on the France team for the foreseeable,

considering that the 2006 World Cup
was just around the corner.

And yet, after 1998, after 2002,

it's a new failure for Nicolas Anelka,
who isn't called up by the manager.

These are obstacles you have
to overcome, and I knew I would.

I tried to give it my all on the pitch,
and I wasn't too bad...

despite having a knife to my throat
my whole career.

You have to act from the heart.

Whenever I do anything,
I try to be discreet. I do it sincerely.

It's how I like to be.
It's how I like to act.

I don't talk a lot about what I do
outside of football.

I like to keep quiet.

I like to be... to go unnoticed.

Even if it's difficult.
But there's a part of me that thinks...

God is on Earth and God sees what you do.

You don't need to be judged,
even in a positive way.

You don't need to be judged by people.

God knows what you do,
and if you do good, you'll be rewarded.

FROM 2004 TO 2008,


Nicolas Anelka is becoming
a seasoned globetrotter.

Six clubs in eight years. Today,
he signed with Fenerbahçe in Turkey.

Anelka! Anelka!

This is a guy who went to Arsenal
when he was told he wouldn't play.

Who joined Real Madrid
and was told the same.

What's he gonna do in Turkey?

That obsessive devotion to the club
and the constant pressure

reminded me a lot of Real Madrid.

Honestly, Anelka is a great footballer,

but for me, his mindset is greater
than his skills.

He always had to prove something.
That he was tough.

Anelka! What a goal!


Nicolas Anelka is back at a top club.

The French international striker
leaves Bolton

for Chelsea, another English club.

A transfer estimated at 21 million euros.

Chelsea were already
two-time English champions.

Chelsea were in the Champions League.

So, when I got the call saying:
"Hey, Chelsea are interested in you",

well, yeah, I wanted to join
the club I'd been looking for.

It didn't have that family
and the warmth of Arsenal.

It didn't have the history and tradition.

It was a very lucrative place of work
for a lot of people.

His slightly sort of cold character should
have actually suited Chelsea,

and actually, it did.

Anelka is filling in for Drogba
who's at the Africa Cup of Nations.

I was at the CAN, so I was watching
every game to see how it was going.

I was calling the other players to see
if they were helping him integrate.

The Blues desperately needed
a great striker, and with Anelka,

Chelsea have found exactly
what they were hoping for.

As for Anelka, he can now
express himself in the Premier League

and in the Champions League.


A must-see match
for football fans around the world,

the Champions League Final
is tonight in Moscow,

between two English clubs:
Manchester United and Chelsea.

I think we had one of the best teams
in the world at the time.

Chelsea desperately wanted it.

Manchester United fans, in their tens
of thousands, desperately wanted it.

One-one. It goes to penalties.

It was an absolutely huge moment.

You had some of the top players
in the world on the pitch.

You had Rooney, Carrick, Ronaldo...

The world is watching.

Shimmy... and Čech has saved
from Ronaldo of all people!

I was there praying.

I saw John miss his penalty
when it was crucial,

and when that happened,
I thought: "This is bad."

Sure, had John-John scored,
he could have ended the game.

But it wasn't over yet.

Our defeat came later.

He didn't look happy coming forward.

As he walked up,
I could tell he was bit tense.

I could feel he was tense.

When I missed, the game was over.
I sealed the club's fate.

Plus, Russia is
the president's home country.

It hurt. It really hurt.

Unfortunately, when you're a competitor,

you always remember the games you lose.

The finals you lose.
It stays with you. It marks you for life.

Missing that penalty
made me feel like a traitor.

I had no business being there.

I arrived mid-season,
and missing that penalty, it killed me.

And it quite simply killed
my career at Chelsea.

Even if after that,
I did some good things.

I just couldn't get over it.
Even today, I'm not over it.

That's the real Nico, you know.

That's the Nico you see
when you're with him on a daily basis.

People just don't know what he's like.

It hurts, and it always will.

That defeat actually brought us together.

It united us.

He came back a lot stronger.

Anelka is on the end of it.

He's done well here. Got away...

-Oh, my word!
-What a goal that is!

Nicolas Anelka has been waiting all game

for a chance to take
the Premier League Golden Boot.

He's one ahead of Ronaldo now.

But he was sort of maturing as a striker.

Chelsea were slightly more set up

to play for him with the quality
of passing they had in midfield.

And he was unplayable
for large sections of that season.

What a day for Chelsea FC!

The Premier League trophy
is coming back to the Bridge!

Chelsea were formidable that season

with the trophies that they won
and just the drive they had.

You could feel the hurt from Moscow
just powering its way through them.

He turned 30.

That's normally the age of fulfilment.

At least, when you're a footballer,
28 to 30 is when they say...'re at the top of your game.


First, in sports news,
France's victory last night in Dublin.

In their World Cup first-leg play-off,
France won 1-0

with a goal in the second half
by Nicolas Anelka.

France has a chance to qualify,

but it all depends
on Wednesday's second leg.

I was planning
on retiring after the World Cup.

So, if we didn't qualify,
this would have been my last game.

And Titi's last game, too.

We were like:
"This might be our last game.

It's crazy. We absolutely have to win
and qualify, otherwise it's over."

And then there was
the famous incident where Titi...

in the scramble,
touched the ball with his hand...

in the lead-up to William's goal.

The day we qualified,

we were together and we were happy,

but the trouble started
the next day or the day after that.

Henry's hand.

A handballer's move to shift the ball.

Nothing to applaud.

When France qualified,

I saw how the media treated Thierry Henry.

He qualified France and got butchered.

No one defended him.

One-all for a chance
to get their hands on the World Cup.

Les Bleus are headed to South Africa.

I'm not happy about it.

It makes me feel uneasy.

Maybe other countries were going
to give him a hard time in the press,

but France?

We were expecting some support.

But it was the opposite.

It was an absolute massacre, by everybody.

He sacrificed himself
for his country, for his nation,

to qualify his team for the World Cup,
and they spat in his face.

Not easy, honestly, on a personal level.

But hey, you've just got to deal with it.

When it's Vata, it's OK.

18 APRIL 1990

When it's Maradona, it's the hand of God.

When it's Thierry Henry, it's...
it's the hand of hellfire.

France barely qualified.

Their coach's legitimacy
would soon be called into question.

Some players were reaching
the end of their careers.

Everything was leading up to a crisis
that could blow up at the slightest hitch.


Two months before the World Cup,
the coach came to see Nico in London.

We even ate a cake.
I remember it like it was yesterday.

We talked about my position on the pitch.

The way he spoke to Nico...
I thought: "Fuck, he really trusts him."

The coach had asked him
to be his striker, and Nico replied:

"OK, I'll be your striker,
but you know my playing style.

If you want a player who stays up front...

it can't be me."


The France football team has landed
on the African continent, in Tunisia,

for its second World Cup warm-up game.

There was a training camp in Tunisia
where families and friends could watch,

and Nico invited me.

I don't know if he minds me saying,

but I'm going to say it
because people need to know.

He wanted to quit.
He wanted to leave the team.

We played the friendlies,
I didn't touch the ball. Nothing. Zero.

There were no automatic reflexes
between us.

It was ugly.

I knew that when we got
to the World Cup in Africa,

having not built up any trust or scored
or done anything on the pitch...

it didn't feel right.

There was Pat Évra and Titi Henry.
We were at the table.

He told me he wanted to leave.
He felt something was going to go wrong.

So, I said to him: "Nico, don't be silly."

He said: "Pat, I swear,
something big is going to happen."

In the end, I was persuaded to stay,
but yeah...

France's last warm-up game has just ended.

Their 1-0 defeat is a disappointment,
a concern even.

Now is not the time to shake things up
because we lost a friendly warm-up.

Like everyone, I'm disappointed,
but I'm thinking:

"The World Cup isn't today.
It starts on the 11th."

At that exact moment, he was right.

He's the coach. He's the one who decides.

He'll die defending his ideas. He's right.

We tried opening up a dialogue with him.

He chose to stick to his system.
And then what happened, happened.


It's 5:45 am, and here we are.
Les Bleus are in South Africa.

I was happy to be there,
especially as it was in Africa.

Long live France!

It was historic.


We all got along. We wanted to get
together and do something great.

This is where the Indian Ocean
and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

And it's the end of the world.

It was a healthy team.

Breakfast is at eight tomorrow!

Cheers, William!

The atmosphere was great.
We had a lot of fun.

Good evening, today's top story:
the start of the FIFA World Cup.

France's first game will be broadcast
straight after the news.

We were confident in the knowledge
that we had extraordinary players,

exceptional in every way.

If we were able to work as a team,
we could achieve great things.

Uruguay and France drew 0-0.

Three shots on target,
many missed opportunities...

On the whole, Gourcuff,
Govou and especially Anelka

seemed to underperform last night.

With Nicolas Anelka,
what bothers me the most is his attitude.

His position is supposed
to be centre-forward,

but he's playing like a midfielder,
coming deep for the ball.

He's not following instructions.

The solution had to come from me,
not my teammates,

which is why I tried to fall back
and bring something to the midfield,

in order to find solutions.

For me, staying up front
wasn't the solution.

That was just being the victim
of everything that was going on.

And I hate being the victim on the pitch.

I knew my performance wasn't great,
but I couldn't do anything.

France's opening game was against Uruguay,

who ended up in fourth place.

France didn't play a bad game.
With 0-0, they still had every chance.

Defeat is out of the question.
Victory is strongly recommended.

France has to score, and if possible,

win its second match tonight
against Mexico.

I was frustrated going
into the locker room.

I was thinking...

"I'm not getting the ball,
I'm not finding a solution.

We're not playing well.
It's 0-0. We still haven't scored."

All of a sudden, the coach came in
and called me out by name.

When he called out my name...

with all that pent-up frustration...

it just came out because...

because I didn't like it.

I didn't like that he called me out
by name as if I were guilty.

As if I were public enemy number one.

As if it were my fault.

I took it as an attack.

I've known Nico a while:
he can be sitting there

and you won't hear a peep from him.

But yeah, like anybody,
if you rattle his cage...

It was a big mistake.
He had to know I was frustrated.

He had to know
that I was a volcano about to erupt.

As the players walked out,
my phone rang and it said "Nico".

I thought: "Why is he calling?"

He was like:
"Yeah, he took me out. Forget it."

Without him saying anything,
I knew something was up.

He didn't play the second half
against Mexico.

We weren't necessarily shocked
as his first half wasn't great.

France lost 2-0 to Mexico.

It was a difficult position to be in,
but they just needed to beat South Africa

by two goals to stay in the competition.

Somehow, you could feel
that the ship was sailing into a storm,

and it did, but we thought
it would be just a sports fiasco.

When there's an incident,
there's a sanction.

And what's that? The pitch. You're off.

You have the possibility,
if there's really a problem,

to take it up with the player,
to call him to your room,

straight away or the next day
or once you've had time to think about it.

Nothing happened.

I got a call from an executive at Canal+
who knew my history with Nicolas Anelka

and who asked me, as a rumour
was spreading among journalists,

if I was aware of a clash at half-time
during the Mexico game

between Nicolas Anelka
and Raymond Domenech.

I said I had no idea.

I sent a jokey text to Nicolas Anelka,

asking him if he'd patched things up
with Raymond Domenech yet.

And, to my great surprise,
he replied immediately:

"LOL. How did you know?"

So, I replied saying:

"Look, this is L'Équipe's
front page tomorrow."

I looked at my phone and I was like...

"Hang on, what?

It's going to say that?
Are you serious or are you joking?

He said: "No, no.
That's L'Équipe's headline tomorrow."

Good afternoon,
our top story this lunchtime:

the France football team
once again mired in scandal.

L'Équipe's headline today is the phrase
Anelka allegedly said to Domenech.

Everyone here in South Africa
is talking about the Anelka affair.

He insulted Domenech.

What happened that night
and in the hours that followed?

Domenech allegedly told Anelka
to change position on the pitch

and defend less.

Anelka sent him packing
with his obscenities.

The row has reached the ears
of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

If the events reported this morning
by the press are true...

they are unacceptable.





If you insult the coach's mother...

It's not every day
you can put that on the front page.

So, they took it to the next level.

Compared to the Champions League,
this is the Interplanetary League!

You know, there's no turning back.
It was madness.

And, well, we were the victims.

I was the first victim,
but the other players were taken hostage.

They were like: "What's going on?"
Everyone was calling them.

People wanted to know if it was true,
what was going on, etc.

It was just insane.

When L'Équipe published that headline,
we had to go and see Nicolas to find out

whether he would be prepared to apologise
to the manager and his teammates.

And in amongst this...

chaotic and nauseating
environment of ours...

this complete shambles,
to say the least...

I found a man who was
completely disillusioned and...

with this cold anger
and a sort of resentment

with regards
to how we'd got to this point.

He explained his side of the story,
the ins and outs of it all,

how he ended up...

turning against Raymond
in the locker room.

That it wasn't a fit of rage.

That something...
And when you know Nicolas Anelka,

he's not the type of guy
to blow up over nothing.

It's got to build up.

The most important thing for me
was the team and patching things up

so that the guys could focus
on the World Cup,

not on what had happened
in the locker room.

Pat Évra and Éric Abidal called
the coach who said he'd come down.

We waited for him.

But, in the end, the coach never came.

The coach fled. Unfortunately.
You've got to tell it like it is.

Everyone was looking for him
in the hotel for a meeting

between him and Nicolas.

On the pitch in Knysna,
the France team is back in training.

We're looking for Nicolas Anelka,
but the France striker has disappeared.

The player sent home from the World Cup
by the French Federation

for seriously insulting the coach
and not apologising.

The president has decided
to expel Nicolas Anelka from the team.

His remarks were unacceptable
and confirmed by the coach himself.

People who know me
know very well that if I'd said

what came out in the press,
I'd have owned up to it.

I've always owned up
to everything I've said and done.



I was next to him in the locker room,
and at no point...

did he say what was written
in that newspaper.

The person in question
never denied the allegations.

For the press to say we're rubbish
or whatever, fine by me. No problem.

They said we were catastrophic,
a bunch of impostors, whatever.

But to write words like that,
that's going too far!

In the morning, I went to buy the paper.
Sold out everywhere.

It created a huge buzz.

When you look at the photos,
it's like we're about to fight.

But he was far away
and I was sitting down.

We were talking.

It lasted... ten seconds.

Knysna is the biggest media fiasco ever.

All the journalists spent
their evenings in the same bar.

There was this determination
to publish something at all costs.

They took a lot of liberties with me.

A front page with an insult like that?

I find it extraordinary.

It won't happen again.


We all met in the hotel.

We chatted and I told the players
how sad the whole situation was.

"All you have to do is be focused
on the pitch. There's one game left."

"If we win..."
That's how I spoke at the time.

"If we win the game, we qualify."

And they were like: "Yeah,
but it's not right. We don't agree.

We want to do something for you,
to take a stand."

I said: "Do what you want...

but I'm leaving tonight."

And, together, they decided,
while I was there:

we'll stop talking to the press.

And as a sign of protest,
we won't go to training."

A film needs a beginning,
a middle part and an ending.

And it's never a happy ending.
Except in Hollywood.

I remember the two of them.

Thierry Henry carrying Nico's bag,
and Nico vanishing into the night.

I just thought: "What a waste."

When he left,
I walked him out to the parking lot.

It wasn't easy.
It was a tough moment, for sure.

I thought back to Clairefontaine.

I thought back
to that youngster showing up and...

I won't go into details
because some things should stay

between the two of us, but...

it was tough.

Really tough.

It was the end. After that,
I couldn't return to the France team.

It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

It was a really emotional moment.

Sometimes, there are moments like that...

They're sad, but you've got
to experience them, and honestly...

it's a moment I'll never forget.

So, with that, I left.

I knew that their plan was
to take the bus and not get out.

I got a call from Pat Évra,

who said: "Nico, we're not going
to be able to do what we said...

because there are children coming.

France fans.

So, we're going to sign autographs
for all the fans...

and when we're done,
we'll get back on the bus."

And what happened, happened.

"In this statement,
all the France players without exception

would like to express their opposition
to the French Federation's decision

to expel Nicolas Anelka.

At the request of the team, the player
attempted to open up a dialogue,

but we regret that his actions
were voluntarily ignored.

Consequently, and to mark
their opposition to the attitude

of the highest authorities
in French football,

the players have decided
not to take part in today's training.

Signed the France players."
Thank you, gentlemen. Goodbye.

I was watching him on TV
and people were calling me.

It was extraordinary. It was like a movie.

For this open training session,
they just came to greet the fans,

before walking away.

What happened?

They'll tell you themselves.

They're the players. They'll tell you.

Jean-Louis Valentin, Deputy
General Manager of the Federation,

hastily leaves the pitch.

He's exasperated.

This is an absolute scandal.

I am handing in my resignation.

A few yards away, physical trainer
Robert Duverne has just heard the news.

The players are refusing to train.

He almost comes to blows
with Patrice Évra,

and in frustration,
violently throws his whistle.

The coach was reading his letter.

The other guy quit.

The trainer threw his whistle
and almost got into a fight.

All in front of the cameras.
It was madness!

When I saw those images of the bus
with the curtains drawn,

I thought it was a hostage situation.

Honestly, at first, I thought
it was a terrorist attack.

I knew it was going to be a mess
because I knew the man.

Yeah, that's why I wanted to tell guys:

"Careful what you do and how far
you go with him. Especially with him."

Because all the power was
in one person's hands.

I feel ashamed about Knysna.

But then you think: "It's a team sport.

If all your players get together
and do something like that,

there must be a reason."

Football is the most individual
team sport.

It's every man for himself.


It feels like the team is in ruins,
with no values.

It's all the excesses of our society:
money, individualism...

After all, what's the France team
if not a team of traders?

Since his debut at PSG,

Nicolas Anelka has rarely tolerated
anyone standing up to him.

It's an insult to his mates,
to the France fans,

and it's not the first time
he's done this.

All his statements
about his love for Les Bleus,

we just let it slide.

In France, we've let it all slide!

People have written
and said a lot about Nicolas Anelka,

his couldn't-give-a-damn approach,
his disdain,

his indifference towards Les Bleus,
when it's anything but that.

Nico was one of the few people,
in that whole ordeal,

to show any empathy.

A few weeks later,
we were chatting by text or something.

I brought up South Africa
and he replied...

"Sorry for everything that happened."

As if he were the responsible party,
or the culprit even,

when that wasn't the case at all.

Far from it.

Seeing as Nico doesn't
open up to everybody

and tends to keep things inside
and deal with them alone,

it makes you wonder how much he suffers,
and how you can help him.

And that's what's important.

As for what other people might say,
we already know.


The Minister for Health and Sport.

Like you, I can only take note
of the disaster.

A France team in which immature gangsters
intimidate frightened young children.

It was just taken as read.
He'd said this, done that.

He was responsible for everything.

It was pretty brutal.

So, I was glad
that my children were too young

to understand
what was going on at the time.

It was hard for his parents, too,
because me, well...

I know him.

But it wasn't easy for his parents.

There's a world of difference between
what people think of Nico and Nico.


ON 19TH JULY 2010,



It was a shocking front page.

I wanted to be judged on that.

I was asked if it's what I'd said.

I replied: "No. Those aren't my words.

So, judge me on that headline
and on those words."







Today, with this legal precedent,

you can put words into anyone's mouth
and add in an insult,

without fear of being convicted,

as long as you know an insult
was exchanged between two people.

Which means that, today,
journalists are free

to assign statements,
in quotes, to any person,

and attribute insults to them,
however serious they may be.

That exaggeration has been legitimised
by this legal precedent.



There are moments
with players in the locker room

where you have it out, that's all.

But he certainly didn't say
what was written in the newspapers.

At half-time, I told him, "Nico,
what I want is for you to go in deep."

He had his boots in his hand
and turned around.

He threw them down and said:
"Look after your shit team alone!"

Supposedly it was him,
and then it turns out it wasn't.

He was the perfect target.

That way, the manager...

No one was talking about results
or what was happening on the pitch.

There was only one affair.
The Anelka affair.

People were a little shocked
by what he said in that documentary.

Nearly eight years later,
he said those weren't my words.

But he'd said that
in his report to the federation.

I think the press knew,
but nobody said anything.

When the judgement was passed,

when the headline was declared
and judged to be defamatory,

nobody took any notice.

I don't have a single article about it.

I have: "L'Équipe acquitted."

Yes, that's an important point,

but no more important than the fact
that the headline was defamatory.

If such remarks had been attributed...

to anyone other than Nicolas Anelka...

L'Équipe would have been convicted.




I thank God every day

because I was lucky
that my children were too young

to understand what happened
in South Africa...


...and what happened throughout my career.

Things were said
that had nothing to do with me.

Made-up things.
Negative things about me and my life.

About my brothers and their ambition.

Happy birthday, Daddy!

Happy birthday to you!

One, two, three!

He's sensitive, but he doesn't show it.

And I feel like, in football,
you've got to show your feelings.

If you don't, people say
that you're cold and unfriendly.

I think he protected himself from...

all that notoriety surrounding football

because he felt like it wasn't his world,
like he wasn't in his element.

And I think by doing so,
he maybe created a disconnect

between himself...

and the public.



I'm lucky.

I've travelled.

I was able to make a lot of money
and do what I wanted in life.

Aged 31, nearly 32,
I felt it was time to relax a bit.


People often think that football is easy.

There you go, that's it!

It's not. It's really complicated.

It's complicated to deal
with the pressure,

to perform all the time,
your whole career.

A career isn't just a year or two.
It spans 15-20 years.

Like I said, it wasn't the best path.

And I don't recommend it to anyone.

But it's my path.


Subtitle translation by Julia Knapp

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