Nicolas Anelka: How Many Teams Has He Played For?
When I tuned in to this week's Champions League match featuring Celtic versus Juventus, I was surprised to see Nicolas Anelka come on as a substitute in the 85th minute. I must have missed the news that he had joined Juventus on a five month loan deal from China's Shanghai Shenhua.
It got me thinking about just how many teams Anelka has played for in his professional career. With the nickname "Le Sulk," it's not surprising to see that Anelka has done some traveling over the years.
See if you can name each team he has played for and in what order. It's actually a bit tricky.
At the start of his professional career, Anelka was a youth player at Paris Saint-Germain
He made his senior team debut in the 1996/97 season with ten appearances and one goal.
After a falling out with Arsenal and the fans, Anelka joined Real Madrid in the summer of 1999 for £22.3 million.
The honeymoon didn't last long and by the end of the 1999/2000 campaign Anelka had fallen out with the fans, most of his teammates and his coach Vicente del Bosque.
Following one season in Madrid, Anelka found himself back where he started at PSG to begin the 2000/01 season.
By December of 2001, he had once again worn out his welcome and was at odds with head coach Luis Fernandez. That's when Anelka was loaned out to Liverpool for five months.
In the 2005 January transfer window, Anelka was off yet again. This time he was headed to Istanbul with a £7 million transfer to Fenerbahce.
In his 18-month stay in Turkey, Anelka won the league title and played in the Champions League with the Turkish club.
Bolton was Anelka's next stop as he signed a four-year deal to return to England in the summer of 2006.
He ended up Bolton's top scorer for the 2006/07 season with 11 goals.
Anelka stayed with Bolton through December 2007.
Citing a desire to play Champions League football, Anelka pushed for a move away from Bolton.
He joined Chelsea in the January 2008 transfer window in a £15 million move. In an interview with BBC Sport, Anelka was quoted as saying, "Chelsea is the team I really wanted to join and I hope this will be the last club that I play for."
Chelsea would be Anelka's longest employer and the club with which he had the most success. He won two FA Cups and one Premier League title while with Chelsea. He was also awarded the Golden Boot Award as the top scorer in the EPL for the 2008/09 season with 19 goals.
In December of 2011, Anelka submitted a transfer request.
By January 2012, he was heading to the Far East as he signed with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua for a large payday.
To no one's surprise, Anelka's adventure in China soured quickly. He was involved in an incident in which he refused to bow for the club's traveling supporters and there have been rumblings of unpaid wages.
So, he moved again and Anelka began 2013 with yet another new club. He signed for Juventus in the last week of last month's transfer window.
Of course, no summary of Anelka's travels in football would be complete without mention of his on again off again relationship with the French National team.
Between 1998 and 2010, Anelka made 69 appearances for France and scored 14 goals.
In typical Anelka fashion, his last International appearance ended in controversy. He was sent home early during the 2010 World Cup following an incident with the team's coach Raymond Domenech. Anelka refused to apologize and was issued an 18 match suspension. In fact the entire French squad imploded and left the tournament in shame.