Nicolas Anelka has revealed how he was treated harshly in Spain when he made a big move from Arsenal to Real Madrid back in 1999.
Nicolas Anelka’s career saw him play for some of the world’s most famous clubs.
During a 19-year stint as a professional footballer, the French striker played for clubs in countries such as England, Italy, India, and Spain. He also made 69 appearances for his national team.
Anelka also picked up numerous medals during his career, winning 11 major club honors, as well as Euro 2000 with France.
One of his most controversial moves of his careers came back in the summer of 1999. Only 20 years of age, the then young striker swapped Arsenal for Real Madrid.
Anelka didn’t score a goal in his first five months in Spain and eventually left after just one season. Though, his short stint saw stint earned him a Champions League medal, the Frenchman revealed how he struggled to life in Spain.
“After the press conference, I went to the changing room,’ Anelka explained in his new Netflix documentary ‘Misunderstood’.
“I got there first, sat down, but players kept coming up to me and saying: That’s my spot”. I would say: “Oh, sorry. Can I sit here?” and then another player would come up and say: “That’s my spot”.
“It happened maybe 20 times. I just thought: “What am I doing here? This is going to be hostile”. What I experienced that day was just the beginning of the nightmare.”
Anelka then admitted he perhaps made a mistake joining Real Madrid at a young age.
“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. It was early in my career, maybe too early. I didn’t know it was the only Champions League I’d win, for example.”