Dublin: 15°C Tuesday 26 October 2021
Advertisement

"Anelka, the league’s top scorer, said: 'I do not play on the wing'"

Luiz Felipe Scolari lasted just seven months at Stamford Bridge, with the attitude of certain players doing his cause few favours.

Nicolas Anelka (file pic).
Nicolas Anelka (file pic).

LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI has revealed that a strop from the famously moody Nicolas Anelka had a hand in costing him his job at Chelsea.

The French forward was nicknamed ‘Le Sulk’ throughout a career which carried him to the very top, but included as many moans as it did cheers.

Scolari found out the hard way how difficult an enigmatic talent could be to manage after being handed the reins at Stamford Bridge.

Once he discovered that Anelka was not prepared to follow his instructions and move from a central role to a slightly wider one, the World Cup-winning coach admits that the writing was on the wall.

Scolari, who lasted just seven months in his post after joining Chelsea in the summer of 2008, told ESPN Brasil: “I had Anelka playing up front. Nine. Top scorer in the league.

“The players return, I make a meeting, and in the meeting I say: ‘Look, now that the players have all returned, [Didier] Drogba is back after two months, we will try to work a situation involving the two attackers playing one by the side, one in the centre, changing positions’.

“Then Anelka, the league’s top scorer, said: ‘I do not play on the wing’. Well, that’s when I said: ‘You don’t play on the wing, one’s going to be on the left, it’s over, I’m not going to stay here arguing with you guys’.

“And there began a series of other things.

I left there and our team was third in the league, three or four points behind top. Qualified for the round-of-16 or quarter-finals of the Champions League. But there was this bad environment, that situation.

“I don’t know if I had continued what would have happened. But it was interrupted. There, I got upset.

“They’ll say: ‘Oh, because you didn’t speak English perfectly’. Of course, I did not. I didn’t speak English perfectly. But I understood perfectly.

We understood, with my English, and the English that was spoken there, we understood perfectly.”

Scolari was sacked by Chelsea in February 2009 having won 20 of his 36 games at the helm and suffered just five defeats.

He has since taken in spells with Bunyodkor, Palmeira, Gremio and a second stint with the Brazil national side.

His last post saw him win three titles in China with Guangzhou Evergrande before walking away at the end of his contract.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

Arsenal, City and Chelsea offered hope in Zaha transfer chase>

‘Every good player is welcome’ – Barcelona’s doors are open to Coutinho, says Rakitic>

About the author:

The42 Team

Read next:

COMMENTS (7)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel