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Madrid-based journalist, Alex Simpson
"Poor little mite, it's a hard life"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 14 March, 2000, 09:47 GMT
Anelka: 'They treat me like a dog'

Anelka waited five months before scoring his first Real goal
Nicolas Anelka, suspended without pay for 45 days by Real Madrid after missing three days' training, claims he has been treated "like a dog" at the club.

In an interview in France Football magazine the striker complains of the Spanish club's "brutal behaviour" and claims his team-mates have ignored him on the pitch.

He is a man who has it all so there must be something wrong psychologically, because otherwise it doesn't make any sense

Real supremo Lorenzo Sanz
"They treat me like a dog," he says. "I am alone against everyone."

Anelka, who is 21 today, complains about his lack of appearances, saying: "It's difficult to succeed, even if you were the best player in the world."

The former Arsenal frontman will lose around 200,000 following his latest run-in with the authorities at the Spanish giants.

The Frenchman, who cost Real a club record 23m when he left Highbury last summer, refused to train after complaining about his role in the side.

The 20-year-old trained on Monday for the first time in four days - but he was forced to do so alone and behind closed doors, as punishment for his one-man strike.

It's difficult to succeed, even if you were the best player in the world

Nicolas Anelka
Anelka claimed at the weekend that the tactics adopted by coach Vicente Del Bosque did not suit him and missed practice with the rest of the squad.

Real directors, who had summoned the French international to appear before them at a disciplinary hearing, said the 45-day ban was less severe than the three-month suspension permitted under club rules.

"He is guilty of indiscipline and he must pay the price," said Real president Lorenzo Sanz.

"Something does not turn around properly in his head - and we must make sure that it turns around again.

"All the effort that people put in on his behalf - that is significant when you consider how much money he cost."

One-man strike

Del Bosque has given the the former Arsenal star short shrift, told him to buckle down and dropped him for last Saturday's league game against Sevilla.

Real won the match 3-1 and moved level with third-placed Barcelona and Real Zaragoza on 47 points although they remain fifth because of a lower goal difference.

Some reports say Anelka is so upset he is prepared to continue his strike, without pay until the end of the season.

Arsenal fans will remember he made the same threat when his move from Highbury last summer was threatened with collapse.

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See also:

09 Sep 99 | Football
Real shrug off Anelka reports
08 Jan 00 | World Club Championship
Real rue Anelka's greed
05 Jan 00 | World Club Championship
Anelka finally opens account
05 Aug 99 | Sport
Anelka: I'm not greedy
28 Jul 99 | FA Carling Premiership
Lazio close door on Anelka signing
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
Madrid: A Real sense of history
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.