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Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK

Sport: Football

Real shrug off Anelka reports

Nicolas Anelka: "Perhaps too much is expected of me"

Real Madrid have dismissed reports that their new signing Nicolas Anelka may quit football because he is not happy.

Real president Lorenzo Sanz said: "We've spoken to Anelka and he's denied saying anything of the sort.

"There's no alarm at the club. I knew there was no truth in these reports because they came from an English newspaper," he added.

"Nicolas is 20 years old and it's absurd to think he might be ready to give up football."

'I should be happy'

The troubled French international, who joined Real less than a month ago, had been quoted on Monday as saying that he was ready to walk away from the game.

"If I continue not enjoying myself out on the pitch, then maybe it is time to stop playing football," he told the London Evening Standard newspaper.

"It would be better to do that. Perhaps too much is expected of me.

"I am only 20 and I should be enjoying myself out there on the pitch. But that is not happening, and I am very sad about that," he said.

Anelka, who had a torrid relationship with the English press, claimed he will also no longer speak to the Spanish media if they continue to hound him.

Criticism of colleagues

His tempestuous nature caused bust-ups with his Highbury team-mates, most notably Dutchman Marc Overmars, who he claimed never passed him the ball. The Frenchman has already started on the wrong foot at the Bernabeu.

He has still not scored for Real and to make matters worse the "enfant terrible" has levelled the same criticism at Spanish internationals Raul and Fernando Morientes.

"They know each other really well. They are not great players, but players who always give each other the ball," he said.

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