Wednesday, March 14, 2012

14 March 1979 - Introducing The Incredible Sulk

On 14 March 1979, striker Nicolas Anelka was born in Le Chesnay, France. He went on to become the world's most expensive footballer, raising almost £85M in transfer fees over the course of his career.

That career started with Paris Saint-Germain in 1996, but he made only 12 appearances for them before moving to Arsenal for a fee of £500,000 in 1997. In London, he was part of the Double-winning side of 1997-98, then contributed 18 goals in the 1998-99 season and won the PFA Young Player of the Year award. But he grew discontent with his role and his salary, earning the nickname "Le Sulk," and moved to Real Madrid that summer for £22.3M.

Additional moves followed in short order, with Anelka rarely staying long in one place. After winning the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2000, he returned to PSG later that year (transfer fee: £20M), then spent time with Manchester City (£12M), Fenerbahçe (£7M), Bolton (£8M), and Chelsea (£15M). His transfer fees to that point totaled £84.8M, which was a record until Cristiano Ronaldo's £80M move from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 put his total over £92M.

Anelka won another Premier League title with Chelsea, along with two more FA Cups. He also won the league's Golden Boot after scoring 19 league goals for them in the 2008-09 season. But he fell out of favor in the ensuing seasons and moved to Shanghai Shenhua on a free transfer in January 2012.

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