Nicolas Anelka tried to slip into Heathrow quietly following his dismissal from the French team. Fat chance. The man at the eye of the soccer storm has triggered a near affair of state at home, and world cup ignomy means he will probably avoid France for a while.
The row shows little sign of abating. Following yesterday’s training ground revolt from the players disgusted at Anelka’s treatment, and unanimously opposing his dismissal, the team lost its director. He stormed off in disgust, announcing he was going home as he had nothing more to do in South Africa, and he would resign his Federation post.
It is a far cry from the 1998 cup winning side, which despite big egos played as a group and was hailed as proof France’s take on the “rainbow nation” model worked. The players were hailed as positive role models and welcomed wherever they went.
In today’s austere times sex scandals, some extravagant lifestyles, and now this means that many have fallen out of love with their team, and the system that produced it.