Anelka to be player-manager in India
Controversial former French striker Nicolas Anelka will return to Mumbai City FC to manage as well as play in the Indian Super League’s (ISL) second season, the player and club owner said on Friday (July 3).
The 36-year-old, who scored two goals in the first season, has already announced his return as Mumbai’s marquee signing, but is 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 also managed and played for Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in 2012.
Mumbai’s owner and Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor said: “We will provide Nicolas all the support required to try and win the league this year.”
Anelka endured a difficult return to football at last season’s inaugural 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 in the eight-team tournament.
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 Oct 3.