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Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-16

Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro said that it will not sign former France striker Nicolas Anelka because the player took too long to report to the club.

Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro said that it will not sign former France striker Nicolas Anelka because the player took too long to report to the club.

Atletico Mineiro director Eduardo Maluf told a media conference on Tuesday that the club had given the player until Monday to arrive and sign his contract. He said the club was advised by one of Anelka's agents that he would not be able to come to Brazil until the end of the week.

Maluf said it was the third time the player and his agents ''gave excuses'' for his failure to report.

Atletico Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil announced the deal with Anelka on April 6. The club said a pre-contract had already been signed and had been heavily marketing the player's signing even though his arrival kept being delayed.

Maluf said he was surprised on Tuesday when Anelkas agent, Cristian Cazini, said the player was in Kuwait.

Anelka told journalists from Kuwait that he was still a free agent.

"I haven't signed for anyone, I'm on holiday," said Anelka. "I'm on a religious visit in Kuwait and I'm not going to talk about football."

Anelka, a convert to Islam, was invited by the Kuwaiti ministry of religious affairs to participate in a meeting for young Muslims.

Atletico Mineiro, the reigning champions in the Copa Libertadores, Latin America's most prestigious club competition, felt slighted.

''He had the obligation to let us know about this in advance,'' said Maluf. ''Atletico is much bigger than this, the deal is off.''

Maluf said the club was considering filing a complaint to FIFA against the player and his agents, saying they broke their agreement with Atletico.

The 35-year-old striker has been without a club since leaving West Bromwich Albion in England in March following a five-match suspension for celebrating a goal with a gesture known in France as a ''quenelle'' where it is regarded as anti-Semitic. The club said it fired him for gross misconduct. Anelka said he was the one who terminated his contract.

Atletico Mineiro would have been the 12th club in Anelkas wandering career. Before joining West Brom, he played for Arsenal, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Fenerbahce, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Chelsea, Juventus and Shanghai Shenhua. He played 69 times for France between 1998 and 2010.

At Atletico, he was set to form a duo with former Brazil star Ronaldinho, a teammate at PSG in the early 2000s. Brazilian media said Ronaldinho helped convince the Frenchman to join the club.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)


Date created : 2014-04-16


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