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banner Thursday, 5 October, 2000, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Madrid made me mad - Anelka
Anelka is back on home ground in France after troubled spells abroad
Nicolas Anelka said he was given the cold shoulder by his fellow players at Real Madrid and had no choice but to leave the club.

In an interview with the Spanish sports daily Marca, Anelka said he was not well received.

"They never treated me like the other players and I wasn't welcomed," he said. "From the very first day no one came near me.

"The only reason I can think of why they did this is that there was so much hype before I was signed," said the French international striker who joined the Spanish club in 1999 after a 23m move from Arsenal.

From the very first day at Madrid, no one came near me
  Nicolas Anelka
Anelka, who rejoined Paris St Germain for a French record of 22m in July, says he is much happier at his new club.

"The main thing is that I now play with other Frenchmen, with people who understand and like me.


"It is not the same as having to go to a changing room where they don't like you and make your life difficult.

"Playing in that atmosphere wasn't easy and Real paid for it."

The 21-year-old Anelka, who had said that one of the reasons he left Arsenal was the intrusive nature of the English press, said the Spanish press were no better.

"I went to Madrid to play football but I couldn't because I was never left in peace."

During his year at Real, Anelka became embroiled in a number of high-profile rows with club officials and coach Vicente del Bosque.

Lorenzo Sanz bought and then quickly sold Anelka
In March he went on strike and refused to train for three days. He criticised Del Bosque and accused his team mates of not adapting to his style of play.


He was subsequently suspended by the club, although on his return he did play a crucial role in helping Real to their eighth European Cup, scoring in both semi-final legs against Bayern Munich.

Anelka said he did not understand why Del Bosque had treated him badly.

"Del Bosque didn't speak to me all season. He never understood me and refused to listen to what I wanted to say."

Anelka said he was also confused by the actions of former club president Lorenzo Sanz, who brought the Frenchman to Madrid in a deal he described at the time as "an act of beautiful madness".

"Sanz was the person who signed me, then he suspended me and then practically sold me. I don't understand his behaviour.

"It wasn't logical that he fought so much to get me and then opened the doors for me to leave."


However, former team-mate Fernando Morientes has firmly rebutted Anelka's accusations.
Morientes has denied Anelka's claims of cold-shouldering

The Spanish international forward said: "It is completely false and Anelka knows that better than anyone else.

"From the time he arrived we all tried to welcome him."

Morientes, currently recovering from a knee injury, believes the key to Anelka's unhappiness at the club could have been his lack of understanding of Spanish language and culture.

"Sometimes when a player has a different nationality he doesn't understand the language properly and he can encounter a number of difficulties that make it difficult for him to settle in."

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