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Signed by Juventus as a free agent | Grade: C
Nicolas Anelka was disillusioned with life in China, not just because the club had stopped paying him, but he felt betrayed by management and the fans were hating on him.
The Frenchman has never quite gotten over his decision to abandon Arsenal, which started his nomadic career and precipitated Thierry Henry's rise to super-stardom.
Nicolas' defensive mechanism for his failure to maximise his talent is to accumulate as much money as possible, forcing him to only think about himself.
But, he accepted the responsibilities that came with being the captain and coach of Shanghai Shenhua with good intentions.
That quickly changed when his teammates weren't playing at the standard he expected.
It was a decision fraught with peril and gave you an idea how ignorant Shenhua's management were of Anelka's attitude to professional football—"I don't care"—which were the words he used when confronted by an angry Shanghai supporter.
Time after time, Nicolas vindicates those Gooners, who called him Le Sulk.
Anelka is an extremely prideful person to a fault, so when management wanted to backtrack, and replace him as coach, the Frenchman said (via SI.com): "If there is still no one to support me and they continue to play little tricks behind my back...then I will quickly decide whether or not to retire."
At least that was more diplomatic then when he lambasted Raymond Domenech (via ESPN FC): "F*** off, look after your sh***y team alone."
Domenech revealed in his autobiography: "I was less shocked by the insult than by the fact he used it towards me broke a barrier of positions, ages, hierarchy...Anelka had killed the squad."
Guangzhou Evergrande's CSL-winning manager Marcello Lippi, who won the UEFA Champions League with Juventus and the FIFA World Cup with Italy, spoke glowingly about the fans (via Mariella Radaelli at China Daily): "I like everything about this place. But above all, I really appreciate the kindness and affection the people show us."
If you respect the fans and you're a winner, you'll be treated as a deity—just ask Stephon Marbury.
Though, if you have a pompous attitude whilst you're underperforming like Nicolas, you'll be hounded out of China.
Juve are replacing Nicklas Bendtner with Anelka, and it forces you to wonder why Alessandro Del Piero isn't still at the club.
Il Pinturicchio would have been more successful than Bendtner.
ADP actually cares about the club, unlike Anelka, who is only in Turin to audition for his next payday.
By the way, Nicklas and Nicolas contradict what Antonio Conte sees in a Juventus footballer—team first, winning mentality, and toeing-the-company-line.