Parting such a tweet sorrow for Anelka
Published 15/03/2014 | 02:30
Seventeen years after he dramatically arrived as a fleet-footed teenaged goalscorer at Arsenal, Nicolas Anelka last night took his leave of English football via social media.
The French striker marked his 35th birthday by using Twitter to announce he had torn up his contract with West Bromwich Albion to "retain his integrity".
He said he was unable to accept the "certain conditions" Albion wished to impose to "reintegrate" him into the club when his suspension for a 'quenelle' gesture expires.
Anelka is today due to begin a five-match ban imposed for making the gesture, which has become associated with anti-Semitism, after scoring against West Ham on December 28.
The two goals he scored that day in a 3-3 draw were the only ones he struck in an ill-fated spell at the Hawthorns.
An independent regulatory commission accepted Anelka's claim that the gesture was not intended to be anti-Semitic.
He said it was made in support of his friend Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, a French comedian who has been convicted seven times of anti-Semitic crimes.
Anelka subsequently started all four of Albion's Premier League games in January but has not featured since and would be banned until April 21 at the earliest.
After discussion with the club, which has slid down the Premier League table in recent weeks, Anelka wrote, in French, on his official Twitter account: "I have taken the decision to free myself and put an end to the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion.
"Following talks between the club and myself, propositions were made to me in order to reintegrate me into the squad under certain conditions that I cannot accept.
"Wishing to retain my integrity, I have therefore taken the decision to free myself and put an end to the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion to 2014, with immediate effect."
Albion were the sixth club Anelka played for in England after Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea.
He has also played for Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Fenerbahce and Juventus, and in China.
However, he has scored only six goals in three seasons, and the last two appear to have caused more trouble than they were worth.
There was no immediate comment from Albion, who visit Swansea today, winless in seven, out of the relegation zone on goal difference alone, and, without Anelka and the sold Shane Long, short of options in attack. (© Independent News Service)