Anelka to play, manage Mumbai City in ISL
NEW DELHI: Controversial former French striker Nicolas Anelka will return to Mumbai City FC to manage as well as play in the Indian Super League’s second season, the player and club owner said Friday.
The 36-year-old, who scored two goals in the first season, has already announced his return as Mumbai’s marquee signing, but was now also taking on the responsibility of manager. “We are all very excited to start this new season,” the former Real Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea and Juventus star said. “I’m personally very eager to take on this new role for the club and put a strong competitive team on the pitch,” Anelka said in a statement.
Anelka also managed and played for Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in 2012. “We will provide Nicolas all the support required to try and win the league this year,” Mumbai’s owner and Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor said. Anelka endured a difficult return to football at last season’s inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) after serving a five-match ban for an anti-semitic gesture known as a “quenelle”.
The Frenchman was fired by English side West Bromwich Albion following the gesture and missed Mumbai’s first three matches because of the ban. He failed to make an impact on his return as Mumbai finished second from bottom of the eight-team tournament. Anelka won 69 French caps and scored 14 goals in an international career which ended in disgrace when he was thrown out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa following a row with coach Raymond Domenech.
Other signings so far for the season include former England midfielder David Platt who will manage Pune City, while former Brazil and Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos will reportedly take charge of Delhi Dynamos. Former Brazilian skipper Lucio will play for FC Goa where he joins fellow Brazil great Zico who returns as manager. The ISL is modelled along the lines of cricket’s cash-rich Indian Premier League, with ageing former international greats fronting each team. This year’s edition kicks off in Chennai on October 3.