Indian Super League: Disgraced Nicolas Anelka Set for Mumbai FC Debut

Nicolas Anelka was serving a five-match ban by the Football Association in England for quenelle gesture in December while playing for West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League.

Updated: October 27, 2014 19:55 IST
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Nicolas Anelka ISL training
French footballer Nicolas Anelka during a training session for Mumbai FC.

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New Delhi: Disgraced French striker Nicolas Anelka is set to return to action on Tuesday after serving a five-match ban for a gesture deemed to be anti-semitic and known as a "quenelle".

The 35-year-old former Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus and Real Madrid star is expected to turn out for his Indian Super League team Mumbai FC against Chennaiyin FC in the southern city of Chennai.

Anelka missed the Peter Reid-coached team's first three matches, in which they beat FC Pune City 5-0 but lost 2-0 to Northeast United and 3-0 to Atletico de Kolkata.

Reid will be relieved at Anelka's return since Mumbai's other top player, Freddie Ljungberg of Sweden, is almost certain to miss the rest of the eight-team league due to a hamstring injury.

"We've got a few plus points for our next game, Nicolas Anelka will be in the side," Reid, the former Manchester City and Sunderland boss, tweeted after the last match.

Anelka won 69 French caps and scored 14 goals in an international career which ended in disgrace when he was thrown out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa following a row with coach Raymond Domenech.

He was handed an 18-match ban for that bust-up, which effectively ended his international career.

Until he joined Mumbai for an undisclosed fee, Anelka had been without a club since he was fired by West Bromwich Albion early this year for the "quenelle" gesture.

The 10-week ISL is modelled along the lines of cricket's cash-rich Indian Premier League, with veteran, if ageing, former international greats fronting each team.

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