Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nicolas Anelka releases statement thanking Chelsea fans for 'four wonderful years'

With a move to China already agreed, Nicolas Anelka issued a statement thanking Chelsea fans for supporting him throughout his four-year tenure at the London club.

The 32-year-old will join Shanghai Shenhua, bringing to a close a lengthy career in Europe which started at Paris Saint-Germain in his teenage years and saw the striker play for Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Fenerbahce, among other teams.

Along the way, Anelka won the Premier League with Arsenal and Chelsea, the Champions League with Real Madrid and Euro 2000 with France. In 2008-09 he finished top scorer of the Premier League.

But a regime change at Chelsea after the hire of coach Andre Villas-Boas edged Anelka out of the team. Despite a brief flirtation with Major League Soccer, the Frenchman opted to continue his career in China.

Still, the four years spent with Chelsea is the longest continuous stretch Anelka has spent at one club, and his time there won't be quickly forgotten, he said in a statement to Chelsea fans:

"I want to thank you all for the support you have always provided. I spent four wonderful years at this great club, where I worked alongside great players that have now become dear friends. But like everything else, this adventure ends …

"On the eve of my 33rd year, I am headed to a new adventure, a new life, a different pace and a different world.

"I want to acknowledge and send a big thank you to the Chelsea fans, players and all those working in the shadow of the club and especially a warm "thank you, England."

"See you very soon,
Nicolas Anelka"

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